JAM | Jul 11, 2024

Wellness Watch | More post-hurricane safety tips

Vanassa McKenzie

Vanassa McKenzie / Our Today

Reading Time: 3 minutes

In the aftermath of Hurricane Beryl, many Jamaicans are undoubtedly still picking up the pieces caused by the powerful Category 4 cyclone, which uprooted communities and damaged roadways and other critical infrastructure.

Today (July 11), more than a week since the hurricane’s passage just south of the island, many citizens are still without critical resources such as potable water, internet connection and electricity due to the severe impact of the weather system.

While it can be a stressful period, here are some safety tips that Jamaicans should bear in mind, especially during power outages:

Cook foods that will spoil easily

During an extended power outage, foods such as meat will spoil easily. If it is safe for you to cook on a gas stove, given that there is no gas leak suspected, prepare foods that may go bad easily.

Given that there is an extended power outage, any food that you prepare and have not eaten in a few hours will have to be disposed of. Now is the time to share with close friends and family to prevent incidents such as these.

Use generators safely

An outdoor generator. (Photo: Honda Outdoors)

Generators are commonly used as alternate power sources during power outages. If you are using a generator, ensure that it is not operated indoors because this can result in carbon monoxide poisoning.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness confirmed three cases of carbon monoxide poisoning related to the use of generators during the passage of Hurricane Beryl. When too much carbon monoxide is in the air, the body replaces the oxygen in the red blood cells with carbon monoxide. This can lead to serious tissue damage or even death.

The generator should be kept at a safe distance from a house or garage.

Use candles safely

With the ongoing power outage faced by several parishes, some Jamaicans may be forced to resort to other sources of lighting, such as candles. If you must use a candle, ensure that you place the candle(s) in a container with water so that the candle can extinguish after burning for some time.

It is also important to keep them away from flammable materials such as curtains, tablecloths, and other materials that could start a fire.


It is generally recommended that you store at least a two-week supply of water for domestic purposes before a hurricane. Water should be stored in food-grade water storage containers that can be covered.

These containers should not have been previously used to store any toxic chemicals.

You can boil your water or disinfect it by adding a small quantity of unscented chlorine bleach to it before use.

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