HOW TO BE HURRICANE PREPARED

ARE YOU PREPARED?

HURRICANE SEASON IS HERE

Hurricane Season is here, and it’s always a good idea to ensure you are well prepared should disaster strike. In the Cayman Islands, Hurricane Season runs from June 1st to November 30th each year. This year forecasters at Colorado State University’s Department of Atmospheric Sciences have released a forecast regarding tropical activity for the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season. On April 8, 2021, the forecasters called for 17 named storms, 8 hurricanes and four major hurricanes. These numbers are projected to result in a more active season than NOAA’s new average season. Failing to plan is planning to fail, some wise men say… 

Know how the COVID-19 pandemic can affect disaster preparedness and recovery, and what you can do to keep yourself and others safe.

HOW TO PREPARE

There are many ways to prepare your family for a hurricane. Ensure you have enough non-perishable food for your family (and pets) and 1-gallon bottled water per person per day for at least four days. Ensure you know where your nearest Hurricane Shelter is and find out in advance if they take pets. 

Remember to stock up on food and any medication you and your pets may need, as well as waste bags, collars or leashes, pet bedding, and a pet crate for your pet to stay in. 

If you have small kids, ensure you have enough diapers, wipes, formula, clean clothing, etc. Any medication your kids may need, and don’t forget their favorite toy to comfort them during the storm.

Valuable documents like passports, immigration documents, emergency contact numbers, insurance policies, documents stating banking details, family certificates, and deeds should be stored in waterproof containers. 

Stocking up with non-perishable food for Hurricane Season can be a daunting task. Luckily, since Hurricane Ivan, the offering of ‘hurricane food’ has evolved and you are no longer stuck to only corned beef and white rice. See below our list of nutritious hurricane food ideas. 

WHAT TO BUY...

Canned vegetables and beans like Green Giant, Bush’s beans, and Heinz Vegetarian beans are great nutritious options.

Canned fish is an excellent way of feeding your family healthy foods to help keep immune systems robust during an emergency. Brunswick has a wide variety of sardines and tunas with flavors to please the whole family. 

Rice is a great family filler and can quickly be cooked on the grill or a small camping gas stove. Try out the flavored rice mixes from Zatarain’s or stick to the crowd-pleasing Uncle Ben’s.

Nutritional drinks can be a great addition to your hurricane kit for a ready to drink supplement. Glucerna and Enterex are supplemental nutritional drinks for people with diabetes or anyone trying to control their blood sugar levels.

Ready to eat cereals with UHT milk make for fuss-free breakfasts with no cooking or heating required. Post Cereals offers a wide variety of cereals. If toast is more your thing, Bauducco has excellent options of ready to eat toast to which you can add Peter Pan Peanut Butter or Brunswick Sardines. Cereal Bars make for great snacks that are equally nutritious and delicious, Quaker has a great selection of chewy oat bars available, while Nature Valley offers various granola bars and cups. 

Canned Soups such as Healthy Choice and Progresso are perfect to last throughout hurricane season as a great ‘next best’ to fresh soup option. Heat up in a pan on the grill or a gas stovetop.

Isotonic drinks such as Gatorade contains similar concentrations of salt and sugar as in the human body. Quickly replaces fluids lost through sweating and supplies a boost of carbohydrates.

‎STAYING SAFE AFTER A HURRICANE

In addition to preparing for a hurricane, it’s important to take steps to stay safe after a hurricane is over, for example:

  • Avoid flooded areas: Take precautions before, during, and after a flood. Never drive through floodwater.
  • Prevent carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning after the storm: Ensure your CO detector has working batteries. Place generators outside at least 20 feet from any door, window, or vent.
  • Continue to follow preventive actions to protect yourself and others from COVID-19, like washing your hands and wearing a mask during cleanup or when returning home.
  • Dealing with disasters can cause stress and strong emotions, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is natural to feel anxiety, grief, and worry. Coping with these feelings and getting help when you need it will help you, your family, and your community recover.

PROTECT YOUR HOME BEFORE THE STORM

  • Remove any loose-standing items from your patio and bring outdoor furniture inside to avoid flying objects breaking windows.
  • Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8” plywood, cut to fit and ready to install.
  • Close curtains and blinds to contain any possible flying glass from broken windows.
  • Switch off any gas and fill your bathtub and drinking containers with water to clean and personal hygiene after the storm. 
  • If you have pets, ensure they have ID tags on, and if you don't take them with you, keep them inside with easy access to food, water, and litter.
  • If you are leaving the house, remember to switch off the main power supply before you go. Prepare for long-term outages. Consider purchasing a generator. It doesn’t have to be the pricey, whole-house version. Even one that’s big enough to run a refrigerator and plug in a few essentials can really make life easier. Consider what you can’t live without if you were to be without electricity for a few days – such as a sump pump or well pump – and select a model that best fits your needs.
  • Park vehicles away from trees to avoid falling branches to cause vehicular damage and secure external doors. 
  • Verify insurance coverage. Avoid the wind and water debate. Check your homeowner’s policy and purchase additional flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program to ensure you have adequate protection if necessary.

HOW DOES PROGRESIVE DISTRIBUTORS LTD PREPARE FOR HURRICANE SEASON

 

As the islands largest food distributor, every year PDL ensures, well ahead of time, that we are ready with all hurricane essentials needed to support the islands in the event of a hurricane catastrophe. Our procurement department sources supplies months in advance to ensure they arrive here in time for June 1st (official start of the hurricane season). The company works with all local supermarkets and various organizations in Cayman, including official hurricane shelters, The Cayman Islands Government, food banks and charities, positioning ourselves to help serve our island in times of need.

By building up our supplies and storing them in our category 5 hurricane resistant warehouse for the entirety of the hurricane season, the PDL operation is first on the scene post any hurricane when supplies are needed. During 2004 when Hurricane Ivan demolished the island of Grand Cayman our warehouse stood proud and we were able to ensure that supplies continued to stream in during the difficult times that lay after.

We strongly urge the public to have a plan. BE SAFE. Have a hurricane kit and Be Prepared. Turn to reliable information sources like the Hazard Management Cayman Islands (HMCI) on Hurricane warnings and Radio Cayman for updates before and after a storm.