Today’s Editorial May 02: Practice hurricane safety now

The countdown for Hurricane Season 2006 begins tomorrow.

Are you ready?

Don’t be alarmed if you see workers busy Wednesday outfitting Government buildings and official hurricane shelters with shutters in an exercise to ensure they know how to property secure and protect those properties in the event of a true storm.

It’s never too late to be prepared.

Those of us who own buildings in the Cayman Islands would do good to take a queue from Government and carry out our own safety exercises.

Do you know where your hurricane shutters are?

Do you know which windows and doors they go on?

Do you have hurricane shutters?

If the answer to the last question is no, you’d better get in gear, head to the nearest hardware store or call one of several hurricane shutter suppliers and installers and get prepared.

Too often many in the Cayman Islands wait until there is a horrific storm knocking on our door to decide to do something about shutters. More often than not it’s too late, as plywood supplies wane the closer it gets to hurricane season.

It’s also time for everyone who plans to stay in the Cayman Islands during a hurricane to decide where they are going to ride out the storm.

Is your home safe?

Is it by the sea?

Where will you go if you’re home isn’t weather-worthy?

There are a limited number of hurricane shelters on Grand Cayman – 16 in all – and inside those there is limited space to accommodate everyone.

And while it’s nice to know that a shelter is available for those riding out the storm, it must be realized that there are strict rules governing shelter use and they can become crowded and uncomfortable.

Many people found that out the hard way after Hurricane Ivan in 2004 when homes were destroyed and people had to live in shelters for several weeks following the storm’s passing.

The Government will visibly doing its part Wednesday to make sure its buildings, shelters and workers know what to do in the event of a bad storm.

It’s now time for individuals and business owners to look around, take stock in hurricane supplies and emergency plans and make sure everyone is on board.

The Cayman Islands was fortunate in Hurricane Ivan. There were only two deaths attributed to the storm – one of a fisherman who sought to secure his boat and another, a man who suffered a heart attack after the storm. While Grand Cayman received much destruction from the storm, early preparations kept just about everyone safe.

It’s now time to practice hurricane safety again.