COCI urges public to attend Hurricane Expo on Saturday | THE DAILY HERALD

COCI Executive Director Anastacio Baker

PHILIPSBURG–The St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce and Industry (COCI) is urging the public to attend the “Taking Charge Hurricane Expo,” which will be held at the Belair Community Centre in Cay Hill on Saturday, August 4, from 9:00am to 4:00pm.

Participation is free. The Hurricane Expo is a joint collaboration of the Government of St. Maarten and COCI. Besides businesses displaying products and services, a number of non-governmental organisations will also be in attendance providing information about nature, animal welfare, basic life-saving techniques and the do’s and don’ts related to insurance.

The Hurricane Expo will be a “one-stop shop” to purchase a hurricane preparedness kit and at the same time obtain useful information if a person is not storm-ready, COCI said in a press release on Tuesday.  There will also be a hurricane food cook-off.

“The peak of the hurricane season is approaching us quickly. This period is from mid-August to mid-October,” COCI said. Assessing what matters most should be “priority one” in what actions should be taken to protect key elements of your business operation when a hurricane strikes, it was stated in the release.

“Planning and preparing can make a big difference to ensure that we are ready to weather the storm. After the passing of a hurricane, businesses need to quickly recover, and this requires preparedness and advance planning, and being able to take action because you are well informed on what steps and measures beforehand need to be taken.

“Equipment, supplies, products, are just some of the assets that keep a business running and need to be in place to get a business back into operation.  Have your data backed up, which makes it easier during the disaster recovery phase. Employees of various businesses in the country also need to be prepared to safeguard themselves and family members during the passing of a storm or hurricane. People are the most important asset of any business operation,” according to the release.

COCI said businessowners and managers should sit with their employees and discuss what preparations they have in place for the hurricane season. This would be like a type of exercise in pre-storm/hurricane preparations and it benefits everyone involved.

COCI Executive Director Anastacio Baker said Hurricane Beryl, which later weakened to a remnant weather system before reaching the Lesser Antilles during the first week of July, could be considered an exercise in preparedness and storm readiness for the remaining months of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season.

“Beryl presented an opportunity for the business sector to review their hurricane season contingency preparedness plans and to also activate them in preparation for the arrival of the weather system,” he said.

“In order for a business operation to re-open quickly after the passing of the storm, the company’s employees are needed to help with the clean-up and therefore it is so important to also look at their welfare and making sure they are also storm-ready.

“Remember, it only takes one hurricane to make it a bad season. Storms and hurricanes will happen, and Beryl was a clear reminder of this. Prepare your business in advance, as there is no reason to wait until a storm is just around the corner. Be storm-ready so we can weather the storm and recover quickly.

“I extend an invitation to the public and the business community to come out on Saturday to the Hurricane Expo where we all take charge by being prepared.”

Source: The Daily Herald