Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment

CDDCommunity CentresSt. Marks Resource Centre

Communities Encouraged to Prepare for Storms

Barbadians urged to do their utmost to be prepared for any storm or hurricane over the next few months.

This advice was shared by Programme Officer at the Department of Emergency Management, Simon Alleyne during a recent  presentation on Disaster Preparedness at the St Mark’s Resource Centre in St Philip. The initiative, a collaborative effort between the Community Development Department’s Rice’s Centre Management Committee and the Department of Emergency Management, engaged participants in an information filled session that built on the mantra ‘be prepared’.

In his hour long presentation, Mr Alleyne said “ the way these systems develop give us enough time to adequately prepare for them on an annual basis.” He noted that Barbadians and  Caribbean people “ live in a region that is prone to a lot of hazards including flooding, hurricanes, earthquakes and an underwater volcano” and therefore should ensure that they are in a state of readiness, especially during hurricane season.

Highlighting that this year’s Atlantic hurricane season from June to November is expected to be very active with 20 to 25 named storms forecasted and an expected four to seven major hurricanes, Mr. Alleyne advised Barbadians “to stock up on their hurricane supplies including canned goods, medication, bottled water or clean drinking water, first aid supplies, disposable gloves, gauze, plasters, ointment, inhalers, etcetera.”

 He added that Barbadians should all have good working flashlights, extra batteries, a portable radio, a hammer, a piece of tarpaulin and nails to help secure their roofs. But he urged citizens to desist from placing blocks on their roofs, stating that they could become missiles during a disaster.

The DEM Officer also urged his audience and wider Barbados to trim trees or branches hanging directly over their houses, which might cause damage during a hurricane. He also stressed that Barbadians should know the Emergency Shelter nearest to their home in case they have to utilise it.

Reminding his attentive audience that Barbados is signatory to a number of international agreements, and played host to the first SIDS conference in April 1994, D.E.M Officer stated that no effort should be spared in ensuring that Barbadians are not caught off guard this hurricane season.

Mr Alleyne stressed that it is critical to build resilience for disasters at the community and national levels, acknowledging sessions such as these community meetings, assist in the education, policy and practice of the national programme. Mr Alleyne contends that once you can give citizens an alert early for an impact it can “significantly reduce loss of life,” and enable the island to bounce back quickly from the disaster.