Opener's essential

It’s September and we are at the peak of the Hurricane Season. Isaac passed us more than a week ago and we felt barely a whisper, but he went on to leave a trail of destruction in the northern Caribbean and United States Gulf Coast.

So if you are keeping up with the news you are perhaps a bit more sensitive to the importance of being prepared. You have been following the bulletins from disaster officials and you know where the nearest public shelter is, just in case you have to leave home in a hurry.

And you have heard the announcements so many time we believe you know what you must take to the shelter, and also what supplies you need to have on hand in case you have to operate for a few days or weeks without electrical power or running water.

But wait, what’s the one little tool you absolutely must have? You’re wondering? May be …

Where’s that manual can opener? You never once thought about it did you? You have put aside your cans of tuna and other necessary supplies but you never once thought of the can opener, even though all you life you have known that except for corned beef tins with their keys and the pull tops on some brands of sardines, you can’t get very far without a manual can opener.

So since you forgot something as basic as the can opener, let’s go back through that check-list of supplies you should have secured by now in case a hurricane strikes.

* Five gallons of water for each person

* A three- to five-day supply of nonperishable food

* A manual can opener

* A first-aid kit and handbook

* Prescription medicines

* A battery-powered radio, flashlights and extra batteries

*Sleeping bags or extra blankets

* Iodine tablets or unscented household chlorine bleach to purify water

* Baby food, prepared formula, diapers and other baby supplies

* Disposable cleaning cloths (baby wipes)

* Personal hygiene supplies such as soap, toothpaste, sanitary napkins, etc.

* An emergency car kit with food, flares, booster cables, tools, a first-aid kit and fire extinguisher

* Rubber boots, sturdy shoes and waterproof gloves

* Insect repellent containing DEET.

It is very important that you also pay particular attention to the last item, insect repellent. In Barbados we still have a problem with mosquitoes, especially the aedes aegypti type that spreads dengue fever, and the last thing you want to be battling when you may have so many other challenges on your hand is a case of dengue fever.

It may also make sense when you are setting out clothing to be worn by you household after the impact of a hurricane to choose long pants and long-sleeved shirts. While you may feel more comfortable in short pants, the more of your skin that is covered, the less opportunity there is for mosquito bites.

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