“Mitigation is the aspect of putting the necessary structures and policies in place to be able to reduce the impact because we know every year, we are going to face a hurricane,” said Mr. Samuel. “Therefore things like strengthening our building codes, looking at enhancing our drainage system, ensuring that they are clean, ensuring that persons build their roof to the standards, having proper insurance for our properties and belongings such as our vehicles. These are some of the things we can do to mitigate.”
The National Disaster Coordinator stated that having policies in place is important. He added that social safety networks are also critical.
“For example, let’s say that the $500 Poverty Alleviation Programme, these are mitigating measures that help us to reduce the impact,” he said. “In doing that, it leads us to the phase of preparedness because we already have the necessary policies and infrastructure and then we now have the ability to prepare.”
Mr. Samuel said that to prepare, families should plan what they are going to do in case of a hurricane.
“If this (hurricane) impacts us, what are we going to do. One, know where your shelters are, two, know the emergency numbers, three, know exactly who are the volunteers for the various non-governmental organizations and also the district managers so that they can assist you if you need help,” he said.
The National Disaster Coordinator said that persons should have a “go bag” or “quick bag” in case they need to go to the shelter.
“These are some of the critical things that you have to sit down with your family and discuss,” he said. “I want to encourage and appeal to the general public to take ten minutes and sit down with your family and speak with them. If we reach to a situation whereby, we are displaced, where do we meet, where do we go.”
Mr. Samuels said that persons should also speak with their contractors to determine what type of shutters are needed for their home.
“Do I buy some boards and have them so that I can board up or do I buy the fabricated one that I can have year-round. That is critically important,” he said.
Persons should have cash on hand in case of a hurricane, added Mr. Samuels.
“Also, important to note is that it is good to have some cash on hand. We saw situations whereby banking institutions and their accessories such as ATM machines would have gone faulty during these times. It’s also good to have some cash at home,” he said.
“We also go to the discussion of perishable items. It’s very good to have them during the hurricane season and extra cache of perishable item in case you have to go to the shelter,” he said
“Also, medication. If you suffer from any underlying illnesses, diabetes, high blood pressure or some heart condition make sure you have some extra medication that you can walk with or put in your go bag in the event that we come under the threat of a tropical storm or impacted by a hurricane. These things are very important to have,” Mr. Samuel added.