‘Preparedness Day’ marked ahead of hurricane season

Workers from the Department of Public Works place hurricane shutters on the windows of the Bodden Town Primary School in 2018 prior to the start of hurricane season. - Photo: Jewel Levy

The Cayman Islands marked the National Day of Preparedness on Monday to highlight the importance of being ready for the upcoming hurricane season and other natural disasters.

The day is observed on a public holiday, Discovery Day, so all residents can have the opportunity to review their family plans and identify areas that require attention.

Cayman is vulnerable to a number of natural hazards including hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis and floods. With the beginning of hurricane season approaching, it is especially important that residents are prepared, because planning ahead can save lives, the government reminded residents in a press release.

Hurricane season starts 1 June.

The first named storm of the year – Andrea – is already spinning in the western Atlantic, but poses no immediate threat to land.

Cayman plans to test its National Hurricane Plan this week with an exercise dubbed ‘Hurricane Kali’.

The annual hurricane exercise is scheduled to take place Thursday and Friday, when all agencies involved in responding to hurricanes will test their response and recovery processes.

A press release from Hazard Management Cayman Islands said the exercise will begin at 3pm on Thursday with a meeting of the National Hazard Management Council at the Government Administration Building.

As part of the simulation, Cayman will be placed under a hurricane ‘Alert’ at 10am on Wednesday in anticipation of a possible impact.

‘Hurricane Kali’ is a tabletop exercise focussing on the response and recovery activities following an ‘All Clear’.

“As the Minister responsible for Home Affairs, I therefore urge all residents to not only evaluate your family and business plans, but also identify how you can help to prepare your community and assist in the event that a hazard strikes,” Tara Rivers said in a press release.

In addition, the ministry said families can enhance their level of preparedness by taking small steps, such as discussing personal plans with all family members so everyone knows what to do and what to expect; installing carbon monoxide detectors; reviewing home and business insurance to ensure that premiums are up-to-date, and starting an emergency savings fund.

Another important step is ensuring hurricane supplies are well stocked.

Community Emergency Response Teams are recruiting volunteers, and residents can also become a trained shelter volunteer or shelter manager.

“These critical elements of our national disaster preparedness and recovery mechanism are dependent on the support and participation of the public, and every volunteer makes a difference when a hazardous event occurs,” the press release states.

Up-to-date preparedness information will be available in person at Kirk Home Centre and Uncle Bills on Saturday.

Representatives of Hazard Management Cayman Islands will be on hand to meet with residents, provide disaster awareness information and answer questions.

More information on improving preparedness and signing up with a CERT Team or as a shelter volunteer is available at visit www.caymanprepared.ky.

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