POND ISLAND–Eight hurricane shelters and five recovery shelters have been identified by government ahead of the peak period of the annual Atlantic Hurricane Season. The hurricane shelters will be open ahead of a weather event while the recovery ones will be available after the event has ended to house those severely affected by a tropical storm or hurricane.
The opening of the hurricane shelters will be announced prior to a direct storm hit on government’s official information avenues: Facebook.com/sxmgov, www.sintmaartengov.org/hurricane, SXMGOV Radio 107.9 FM and via other media organizations.
The main buildings designed to be used as hurricane shelters (and for recreational use) are Dutch Quarter Community Center (Dacca Road/Zorg en Rust), Belvedere Community Center, Rupert Maynard Community Center (St. Peters), National Institute for Professional Advancement (Cay Hill), Simpson Bay Community Center, John Larmonie Center, Genevieve de Weever Primary School (Hope Estate Road), and Little League Ball Park (Soualiga Road).
The five recovery sites are to be used as a shelter after the hurricane. These are St. Maarten Academy Gym Hall, Milton Peters College’s Gym Hall, Sister Marie Laurence School’s gym hall, Melford Hazel Sports Center, and L.B. Scot Sports Auditorium.
Government reminds the community to take heed to the hurricane and recovery shelter rules and procedures. Shelters will be manned by law enforcement and/or military officials to guarantee order and smooth operations.
Prior to leaving home to take cover in a shelter make sure everything is secure and you’ve packed all your essentials. Also take note of the shelter guidelines and keep them handy as part of your Disaster Supply Kit.
Pack only essentials: Persons utilizing a shelter should pack sufficient drinking water and food for up to three days. It is also advisable to take a first aid kit to the shelter along with prescription medications and special items for elderly or differently abled family members.
Baby and children requirements: If you have a baby, remember to pack sufficient diapers, formula and bottles to last at least three days. Take playing cards, games and toys to keep children, and yourself, occupied. Pack a set of clean clothes and bedding (pillow, sheets).
Food: Carry a can opener, a few cans of non-perishable food, special items for elderly or differently abled family members, battery powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries; cash/credit cards, passport and other important papers (insurance papers) in a waterproof bag. There is no need to bring cooking equipment or furniture to a shelter.
Alcohol/weapons/smoking: – Alcoholic beverages and weapons are not allowed in shelters. Smoking is prohibited.
Pets: Shelters do not accept pets. Arrangements for pets must be made beforehand to have your untied pets secured in a room at your home, with sufficient water, and food for at least three days. Do not leave dogs and cats in the same room.
Electronics: It is strongly recommended to bring portable electronic devices – such as phones, tablets and battery packs, all fully charged as there are limited recharging outlets at shelters.