Have you started to prepare for the hurricane season? Do you have your hurricane essential kit ready at home should a major hurricane hit the region? Well if your answer is no, it is not too late to stock up on your hurricane essentials.
The Hurricane season is already upon us and Jamaica similar to its Caribbean neighbours is prone to the impacts of hurricanes and tropical storms due to its geographical location in the Atlantic basin.
Meteorologists have projected a near normal-hurricane season this year, with the National Hurricane Center (NHC) and Central Pacific Hurricane Center forecasting 12 to 17 named storms with five to nine of those named storms predicted to become hurricanes and one to four major hurricanes with winds of 111 mph (179 kph) or higher.
Stock up on medical supplies
A first-aid kit may come in handy during the hurricane season to help you respond to any health emergencies that you or your family members may experience.
The basic first aid kit should consist of:
- plaster, small, medium and large sterile gauze dressings
- at least 2 sterile eye dressings
- triangular bandages
- crêpe rolled bandages
- safety pins
- disposable sterile gloves
- alcohol-free cleansing wipes
- sticky tape
- thermometer (preferably digital)
- skin rash creams, such as hydrocortisone or calendula
- cream or spray to relieve insect bites and stings
- antiseptic cream
- painkillers such as paracetamol (or infant paracetamol for children), aspirin (not to be given to children under 16), or ibuprofen
- antihistamine cream or tablets
- distilled water for cleaning wounds
Always store your first aid kit in a cool and dry area. Ensure that you stock up on medication and asthma pumps that family members may need. Likewise, always check the expiration date on medication to ensure they are not outdated.
Invest in a battery-powered radio
Purchasing a battery-powered radio is a small investment that may prove useful during a hurricane where power outages frequently occur. Stock up on extra batteries and a flashlight in the case of an extended power outage.
Listen to radio advisories and bulletins for updates on the hurricane.
Stock up on canned foods and other non-perishable items
Canned foods have a long shelf life and are therefore the recommended option during hurricane season compared to frozen meats and desserts that can easily go bad during a power outage.
There are a wide variety of canned foods to choose from which includes beans, vegetables, fruits and protein products to ensure that you give your family the nutritious meal they deserve.
Be sure to check the expiration date before purchasing canned items.
You can also stock up on other items that have a relatively long shelf life such as crackers, oats, peanut butter, nuts, rice and pasta products.
Other essential items to have at home during this period include a manual can openers, a box of matches and a tool kit.
Store water supply at home
Hurricanes or tropical storms can make public water supply unsafe for drinking, therefore it is recommended that you store bottled water at home in a cool and dry area for each member of the household.
Boiling water is one of the most common ways to ensure that it is safe for drinking.
Secondly, you can add chlorine tablets to the water to remove bacteria and other contaminants that make it unsafe for drinking.
Stock up on personal hygiene products
Stocking up on personal hygiene products during the hurricane season should be at the top of everyone’s to-do list.
A major hurricane may prevent you from going to the supermarket as you are accustomed to doing, therefore it is important to keep a supply of toiletries (toothpaste, deodorant, tissue, toothbrush, soap, mouthwash, dental floss, sanitary items etc) to last during the hurricane season.
Females be sure to stock up on menstrual products and painkillers to last at least two months.
Do not forget your rain gears
The hurricane season can be very unpredictable and you may never know when you may need to ‘armour up’ for a flash flood.
So get those raincoats, umbrellas and rain boots ready for the hurricane season ahead.
Invest in a fire extinguisher
A fire extinguisher is an important tool used to control small fires, often in emergencies. A fire extinguisher is a great asset to have in the household during a hurricane.
Here are some tips on how to use a fire extinguisher:
- Pull: Remove the safety pin at the top of the fire extinguisher by pulling by breaking the plastic seal.
- Aim: Approach the fire from a safe distance and aim the outlet of the extinguisher towards the base of the fire.
- Squeeze: Squeeze the handles of the extinguisher together to release the dry or wet chemicals to put out the fire.
- Sweep: Sweep the outlet of the extinguisher from side to side to put out the fire. After successfully putting out the fire, observe the area for any potential hot spots that could reignite the fire.
Store waterproof containers/file folders
Another must-have during the hurricane season is a waterproof file container to store documents and other valuables to protect them from the weather. Keep this container in a safe and dry area in the home that you can easily access if you may need to evacuate to a safe location during the hurricane.
Candles and lanterns are essential items during a hurricane which is commonly associated with power outages. Stock up on at least a week’s supply of candles and kerosene oil to fuel the lantern in the instance there is a prolonged power outage during the hurricane.
Candles can be very risky for use in the household therefore be extra careful when using them during the hurricane season. One safety tip for candle use is to always put out candles before going to bed to prevent a fire from starting.
Power bank charger
A battery-operated power bank is another great device to have in your possession during hurricane season. It helps to keep you connected to others around you by keeping your phone and other gadgets charged should there be a power outage.
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