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Play it safe!

The announcement of the first tropical depression to threaten the island for the 2012 Hurricane Season has sent Barbadians scurrying to supermarkets to stock up can foods and other dry goods. The reality of current economic times though is that there is still a significant number of Barbadians whose meals are determined from day to day – just simply because they cannot afford to shop for more than one day’s supplies at a time.

These persons are unlikely to have the benefit of stocked cupboards and after the impact of a storm will find it a challenge shopping for groceries. In any event, there is no guarantee that shops will be open to facilitate them.

However, a difficult situation could be made worse if the homes of these persons, generally constructed of timber, are damaged by high winds. In such a case, emergency officials have warned that lighting a stove in such surroundings is a strong recipe for disaster. A blaze could destroy all that’s left.

But this is also the time of year when items such as breadfruit and sweet potato are plentiful and may be the primary ingredient of a family’s lunch or dinner. The same alternative is to light a backyard fire – which may be a first time experience for many Barbadians.

Be careful with the spot you select. Make sure it is not to close to the house, that it can’t make contact with plants and that it is reasonably well shielded from of gusts of wind. Now dig a shallow pit, which will serve to ensure the fire remains contained.

Let the size of the put you will use determine how wide your pit should be. If you have any crushed or sand around, line the bottom of the pit with it, or perhaps you can use a few flat rocks.

Look for about four concrete blocks and a sturdy piece of wire mesh to form the foundation of the stove on which your pot will rest. Fill the pit with dry pieces of wood, bearing in mind that while thicker pieces will take longer to ignite they will burn longer and provide a more even flame. Dry newspaper will serve you well in getting the fire started, using matches or a cigarette lighter.

Your family must eat, but you also want to make sure they remain safe. By the way, make sure you don’t leave hot pots where they can injure children or pets.

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