CUC in hurricane mode

Caribbean Utilities Company went into full hurricane mode last week.

From as early as 8am, the CUC Emergency Preparedness Committee kicked off the hurricane exercise nickname Hurricane Sparky.


Caribbean Utilities Company linesmen overlook hurricane strategic plans during a brief at the South Sound Substation in Fern Gardens during a hurricane preparation drill yesterday. Photo: Jewel Levy

The committee responsible for coordinating activities across the company to ensure that staff is kept updated in preparation of any emergencies was in full go.

The North Sound compound was busy with activity as employees shuttered windows, secured poles, took away heavy equipment, removed trucks and went over CUC’s hurricane manual. Security officer Wayne Hutchinson also hoisted black and red warning flags.

The year-round preparations, in which employees are well versed in what they have to do in the first 24-hour period of a hurricane warning, went off without a hitch.

Every piece of equipment essential to getting distribution functioning after a hurricane was secured and removed.

CUC’s Caren Thompson, manager of corporate communications, said shuttering the corporate office did not take long because they are accordion, which means they just need to be closed and locked.

One lesson CUC staff learned after Hurricane Ivan, was not to keep any essential equipment at the plant compound. Most of the equipment was lost there during Ivan. Trucks are now kept at sub stations because most of them are built on higher ground.

While the outside crew was making sure all preparations were in full go, office staff reviewed the hurricane manual and made sure each group was positioned in place and job requirements known when a warning was issued.

During a threat CUC staff remains on duty until all duties are completed.

The preparation also include trimming trees from power lines as not to make contact with wires that could cause power outage and inspection of properties to ensure buildings are up to standard.

Another critical element of the preparedness plan was to see that alliances were in place with overseas companies to supply technical support, labour and material after the hurricane.

CUC also provides public hurricane tips, which help customers in preparedness efforts and avoiding downed power lines during the hurricane.