Hurricane Preparedness Tips for the Home

Hurricane season officially runs from June to November each year. It tends to affect the Caribbean islands as well as the coasts of Florida and Texas.

May has been declared as Hurricane Preparedness Month by the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM).

This is an effort to begin hurricane preparedness a month earlier than previous years and sensitize Jamaica to the threat of hurricanes. June, however, remains in effect as Disaster Preparedness Month.

Recommendations for hurricane preparedness

Here are some recommendations for hurricane preparedness from the Jamaica Real Estate Guide:

  • Obtain plywood and nails for battening up windows and doors
  • Obtain candles, matches, fuel for generators and gas for kerosene lamps as applicable for your home
  • Make sure that auto and home insurance policies are up-to-date and have adequate coverage. Take pictures of all the rooms in your house and valuables.
  • Develop an emergency communication plan in case family members get separated. Designate a safe room in the house and make sure every household member knows it. Educate family members about how and when to turn on/off gas or electric appliances.
  • Trim or cut away branches on trees near your home that may cause potential damage under hurricane conditions
  • Place important documents in a waterproof container
  • Make sure you have enough cash as ATM machines may not be in service during an extended power outage
  • Fill car with gas
  • Develop an evacuation plan and route
  • If your home has a potential to be at risk, make plans for where you will stay. Obtain a list of shelters and disaster preparedness coordinators just in case

Disaster supplies shortlist

Be sure to have Disaster Supplies on hand:

  • Drinking Water – up to a week’s supply, at least one gallon per person
  • Food – up to a week’s supply: non perishable, canned foods, snacks, disposable plates, forks, cups
  • Food for infants or the elderly
  • Non-electric can-opener
  • Gas for gas stove
  • First Aid Kit, Medicine or Prescription drugs as needed
  • Toiletries, Wipes and/or Hand Sanitizer
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Battery operated radio
  • Fully charged cell phone and non-electric-operated house phone>

Further information can be obtained from the ODPEM website at www.odpem.org.jm or by calling their office at (876) 928-5111-4 or toll free (876) 991-4262. Be sure to click on the Fact Sheets section of the website for tips like “How to make your water safe”, “8 Ways to Prevent Fires” and more.