To keep your family and home safe, have a plan in place before a storm or other natural disaster, making sure everyone knows where to go and what to do in an emergency.
Decide where to stay
Decide where you want to shelter. If your house isn’t safe, ask a relative or friend if you can stay with them. If your workplace is secure, find out if you can shelter there.
If you decide to stay in your home, have a back-up plan for shelter in case you must evacuate. Determine where you will go and how you will getthere. If ordered to evacuate, do so as directed. Know the location of public shelters (see page 70, and 30) and emergency medical centres nearest you.
If you do not need to evacuate, shelter in place – do not leave your home unless the situation is life-threatening. Stay away from windows and stay indoors. Do not venture outside for reasons of discomfort or curiosity.
Pick two meeting spots
Decide what to do if your family gets separated. Have two designated meeting places. One should be just outside of your home for unexpected events, such as a fire. The second should be outside your neighbourhood, in case you can’t get home, or family members become separated.
Choose your contacts
Tell someone who lives outside your area where you plan to be during a storm. It is a good idea to ask someone off-island to coordinate communication in the event of a disaster.
Family members should call this person to report their location. Send your contacts copies of important documents, such as ID and insurance.
Have the right insurance
Make sure home and contents are properly insured, and that you understand exactly what your coverage provides. (see page 74)
Prepare a hurricane supply kit
Assemble your emergency supply kit and first aid kit. (see page70)
Organise important documents
It’s important to keep documents in a waterproof pouch in a convenient place known to all family members. Keep a second copy at the home of a trusted relative or friend (see page 26).
Have some cash on hand
Have some emergency cash put away. A hurricane and other emergencies may disrupt banking, and automated teller machines and credit cards may not work.
Plan for pets
Make sure your disaster plan addresses what you will do with your pet if a hurricane requires you to leave your home (see page 62).
Prepare your home
Secure items in and around your home before storm-force winds arrive. Trim dead wood from trees and cut back overhanging branches. Check and repair loose gutters. Check your hurricane shutters or plywood covers, and the tools you need to install them (see page 36).