Monday’s public holiday marks not just Discovery Day but Cayman’s National Day of Preparedness.
This year’s theme is “Don’t let your guard down!”
National Day of Preparedness is observed each year in the Cayman Islands to encourage residents to prepare for the hurricane season and any other natural disaster.
Deputy Governor Franz Manderson, in a message issued this week, pointed out that National Preparedness Day is observed on a public holiday, Discovery Day, “so that all residents can have the opportunity to review their respective family plans and level of personal preparedness for the hurricane season.”
In a bid to combat complacency, Mr. Manderson said, the government is encouraging residents to plan ahead and prepare, for example, by replenishing hurricane supplies, checking window and door shutters and trimming overhanging trees.
“As we use the day to enhance our individual and community preparedness,” Mr. Manderson said in the statement, “remember the vulnerable persons in our community and in your own family, and ensure that they are planned for adequately.”
Residents are advised, at an absolute minimum, to have a supply of non-perishable food, such as canned goods, to last at least three days – but preferably one week – and enough drinking water, a gallon of water per person per day ideally, to last a week.
“Take time also to plan for the elderly and very young members of your family,” Mr. Manderson said. “They will need your assistance in coping with the effects of the hurricane.”
He urged people to meet with family members and come up with a “family disaster plan,” service generators, check insurance policies to ensure they are current, remove debris from yards, and get a battery operated radio and flashlight.
Making a decision early on where to stay during a hurricane is also advisable, Mr. Manderson said, and consider what to do with pets, as shelters will not take animals. Also make plans for where to park cars during a storm.
“So many people lost so many things in Hurricane Ivan and Paloma, and the truth is – that in many cases if they had been better prepared then they may not have lost their car, or their photographs, or other priceless personal items,” Mr. Manderson added.
He also reminded civil servants that they “have a duty to maintain a high level of personal and family preparedness at all times.
“The country depends on our emergency services and first responders to be ready in a time of crisis. All civil servants are expected to contribute to the recovery, and may be requested to perform additional duties above and beyond their regular work schedule,” he added.
Mr. Manderson also reminded residents who intend to leave the islands prior to, or after, a hurricane, to ensure that their travel documents are updated and that visas or visa waivers are obtained.
“Regardless of the forecast for the season, it only takes one storm to cause damage and disrupt our lives,” he said. “So please don’t let your guard down, and let us be prepared for the hurricane season and beyond.”