Keep neighbours in mind

The 2008 Hurricane season is upon us, and to minimise interruptions in our daily lives, every precaution should be taken to ensure optimum preparation.

Weather and atmospheric experts have already predicted an above-average season for named and major storms in our region — more than enough incentive, I believe, for us to begin securing our loved ones, property and other valuables.

Preparing for the hurricane season is one of the highest priorities for the Cayman Islands Government. And I can assure you that a great deal of hard work has already gone into creating a solid hurricane plan for this season. But while the government and all public agencies have vital roles to play, so too does each and every private entity, household and citizen.

One critical aspect of hurricane preparedness is ensuring that your property insurance policy has not expired and that it will remain valid throughout the season. None of us can afford the consequences associated with attempting to renew at or around the expected time of a hurricane strike.

Our experience with Hurricane Ivan painfully demonstrated the fact that the effects of a storm are potentially as devastating as any other natural or man-made disaster. And usually, the only way to recover a major part of the value of destroyed items is to pre-insure them at current replacement values. So please, make the effort now and check your policies.

Another key aspect of preparedness relates to safeguarding your important documents. Passports, insurance policies, birth-, marriage-, naturalisation-, and Caymanian status-certificates, are among personal papers that should be securely stored. Keep these together in waterproof bags or containers in a place which is easily accessible in emergency situations.

Remember, copies of most important documents cannot be issued if weather conditions compel the closure of government offices. And post-disaster, you may need them to travel or to claim for damages.

Equally important, you should keep extra cash on hand, have a supply of prescribed medications, and pack up special items for children and elderly loved ones.

These are but a few of the preparations that we each need to make. And while many of us have grown accustomed to taking such safety measures each year, we can never afford complacency or delay.

Planning ahead will help reduce the stresses we all face when an emergency situation occurs, and will greatly improve our chances of survival and speedier recovery. I therefore implore each and every resident to learn as much as possible about hurricanes and how to plan around them.

During this hurricane season may each and every soul on these islands be safe and may we each remember to be watchful, not only for ourselves and our families, but for our friends and neighbours also.

George McCarthy – Acting Governor

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