Today’s Editorial for June 13: Take time to prepare

Monday in the Cayman Islands means more than just the Queen’s birthday.

It’s also been set aside as the National Day of Preparedness, which used to be called National Hurricane Preparedness Day.

The change in the name came because we should all be prepared and plan for any natural or manmade disaster, such as earthquakes (remember we had a real shaker on 14 December, 2004), floods and fires.

Just as last year we’ve got some major retailers stepping up to the plate to get us all ready for this hurricane season.

AL Thompson’s, Cox Lumber, Kirk Home Centre and Uncle Bills, along with the Planning and Public Works departments will hold demonstrations and offer practical tips and guidelines for preparing homes and families Saturday.

Those who show up at the stores and take part in the demonstrations also have a chance to win a hurricane kit.

Can’t make it to the stores? Then go to the government’s website at www.CaymanPrepared.ky, pick up a copy of the Cayman Free Press Hurricane Supplement for 2008 at any retailer or our offices on Shedden Road or read it online at www.caycompass.com

Those of us who have lived here for a while know that weather conditions can change quickly, so it’s better to be prepared up front.

Don’t wait until a storm is knocking at our doors to get you plywood for shuttering, cases of water, canned goods and other emergency items.

If you haven’t already done so, make copies of your passports and other important documents and store them in a safe place. Put the originals in waterproof containers or bags and put them away from any areas that could be damaged from flood waters.

If you live in an area that is prone to flooding, begin making plans now on how and where to evacuate.

If you’re new to our Islands, welcome.

Be sure to talk to someone who has lived through storms in the Cayman Islands – particularly Hurricane Ivan in 2004 – and find out what you need to know about the area in which you live, like if it is prone to flooding.

Determine now which shelter is closest to you if your have to evacuate, or better yet, make plans to stay with family and friends who live inland in a safe place.

Shelter space is limited and there are many rules and regulations you have to follow when in a shelter. And remember, you’ll be surrounded by strangers and their families.

It is wonderful that government provides shelters for hurricane emergencies, but they should be a last-ditch choice.

While you’re celebrating the Queen’s birthday Monday, take some time out to make sure you and your family are prepared, not only for hurricanes but for any natural disaster.

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