Surviving a hurricane

We are now well into the second half of the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season, and so far we have had the fortune of being spared the impact of any major weather system. Let’s hope our luck holds, but be sensible enough not to let our guard down. We must always be prepared.

Here are some tips that could keep you and your loved ones alive should Barbados be impacted by a storm.

What to do during the hurricane

DO NOT leave your house or shelter during the hurricane.

DO NOT open windows and barricades until hurricane has passed.

DO NOT go outside during the hurricane.

DO NOT shelter in gullies or low-lying areas that are likely to flood.

DO NOT leave the shelter if there is a sudden lull in the hurricane. This may be the centre of the hurricane, and the wind will start up again very violently from the opposite direction.

After the hurricane

* Assist the members of the Emergency Relief Organisation as much as possible if asked to do so.

* Help to take the injured requiring treatment who are the immediate concern to the nearest first aid post of district hospital.

* Report deaths at the police station.

* See that the injured, even those slightly injured, are inoculated against tetanus.

* Assist by removing the smaller pieces of debris from outside houses, particularly if you live in the Bridgetown area or on the main road.

DO NOT touch fallen electric wires.

DO NOT congregate in roads and thoroughfares.

DO NOT throw garbage, waste food or dead animals in the street. Help to protect the health of you community.

DO NOT use a car unless there is an urgent job to be done.

DO NOT overcrowd relief centres needlessly.

DO NOT go sightseeing.

DO NOT drink water without first boiling it unless the health authorities have declared the water supply restored to normal.

DO NOT waste water.

* Department of Emergency Management

#30 Warrens Industrial Park,


St. Michael

Hurricane clean-up tips

Having followed the advice of the experts to keep your family safe, there is a high probability, particularly if you live in a low lying area, that you will have some cleaning up to do after the high winds and pounding rain.

Here are a few more helpful tips:

* Be safe while you clean up. Wear long pants to keep the bugs out and sturdy gloves and boots to protect hands and feet. Wear a mask when stirring up mold or lots of dust. Clean out wounds with soap and clean water as soon as they happen so they don’t get infected. And don’t use a gas-powered generator in a closed-off area.

* Keep your hands squeaky clean. Wash your hands often to avoid infection. If officials say the water isn’t safe, use bottled water or water that has come to a rolling boil for at least one minute. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer can also help if water is limited.

* Be mindful of electricity. Don’t use appliances that have gotten wet, including refrigerators, washing machines or driers, as water can damage electrical appliance motors. Have them and your small appliances checked out by a service person first. In fact, it is recommended that you have an electrician check your house wiring before you flip a switch or use an outlet after a flood.

* Beware of mold. Mold grows very quickly in wet, damp areas, so dry everything out, and throw away items that won’t dry fast, like rugs. Put fans in your windows and doorways and face them outward (make sure the fan is not flood damaged first!). To clean mold use one cup of bleach per gallon of water.

* Clean everything. Sanitise the places where you prepare and eat your food as well as your pots, dishware and utensils. Wash your children’s toys, the linens and all clothing. Throw out pacifiers and stuffed animals.

* Say goodbye to your food supply. Throw away perishable foods and anything that may have come in contact with floodwater, including canned foods, jars, spices and any food kept in a box, paper, foil or cellophane.

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