EDITORIAL - Don’t be caught off guard
Sat, 06/04/2016 - 12:00am
We are now into the month of June and the start of the Hurricane Season, and first and foremost in our minds should be formulating and deciding how best to execute our disaster preparedness plans. Note that the focus should be on disaster preparedness and not just on hurricane preparedness.
From what we have seen in the past, tropical storms can bring with them torrential rains, which can lead to flooding; as well as high winds, which can cause damage to homes. We all know from experience the damage that can occur when we get a taste of a storm, and we are not even speaking of a hurricane. When disaster strikes, it is crucial that citizens have a plan on how to treat to the particular disaster, and it is even more crucial that families, schools, workplaces know what is required in the event of X or Y. So preparedness on the whole is key.
Each and every year, we hear some individuals murmuring and complaining when hurricane preparedness messages are given, about the extra money that is needed to purchase hurricane supplies. However, there really is no need for a fuss, as most of the items required are usually just a few extra household items and non-perishables. It’s a win-win situation. If there is no catastrophic event, you can still use the tinned goods, the flashlights, the batteries etc. around the home or in the office.
The hurricane season can also be used as a time to do some sprucing up. Drains and roof gutters can be cleaned to accommodate the extra rains; the roof can be inspected for leaks or loose roofing
materials; and old buckets, tyres, gardening equipment and other things that are lying around in the backyard should be put away in storage, where they cannot become missiles during a weather event.
Citizens should be on the lookout as well for any supplements or general information that may be useful for the household. Emergency numbers should also be placed in a prominent place. Adults should use this time to educate children and even elderly relatives about the need for an Emergency Preparedness Plan, so they can be informed about what they need to do if disaster strikes and they need to spring into action. There are so many scenarios that can play out when a system is in the atmosphere and things around you are not operating in the realm of the normal.
We all need to keep in mind that it takes just one disastrous weather event to disrupt our daily routine. As such, it is incumbent on the Barbadian public to heed the warnings issued by the Department of Emergency Management (DEM) and put the necessary precautions in place, ahead of time, to ensure the safety of local families and communities.
As one DEM official put it, “preparedness is a shared responsibility”. As such, it is not just the responsibility of the Department of Emergency Management or the response agencies like the Barbados Defence Force, the Royal Barbados Police Force or the Barbados Fire service, but it is the responsibility of all of us here, living in Barbados. We must continue to put our preparedness efforts in place to ensure a better response, when, not if, disaster does strike. So if you haven’t given much thought yet to your hurricane preparedness efforts, the time to start is now.