PHILIPSBURG–St. Maarten Fire Chief and National Disaster Coordinator Clive Richardson has called on residents and businesses to start preparing for the 2020 hurricane season.
The United States (US) National Oceanographic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has predicted that the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season will be above average, with up to 19 named storms, of which 10 could become hurricanes and six could become major hurricanes.
An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes and three become major hurricanes.
“Our national disaster management system commenced preparations earlier this month. This includes all 10 Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) and other relevant agencies,” said Richardson on Tuesday.
The Office of Disaster Management (ODM) called on residents to review the content of their disaster kits and to start restocking them with essential items necessary to “ride out the hurricane season.”
“Every household’s disaster kit should be able to support members of the household for a minimum of seven days after a hurricane has passed.
“The disaster kit should contain non-perishable food, water and medicine (fill prescriptions before the storm); a non-electric can opener; first-aid kit; extra cash, as ATMs [automated teller machines – Ed.] and credit cards will not work if there is no electricity; and a battery-powered radio and flashlights as well as extra batteries.
“Make sure mobile phones are all charged prior to the arrival of the hurricane; fill up your car/truck with gas; check that your home and automobile insurances are up to date; and put ID [identification] cards, passports, driver’s licences, insurance papers in a waterproof bag, along with other important documents.
“If you are a parent with an infant or young child(ren), you also need to have essential items as part of your disaster supply kit, such as baby formula, diapers, bottles, powdered milk, medication, moist towels, and diaper rash ointment,” said ODM.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, ODM advises persons to also include hand sanitiser, a soap bar or bottle of liquid soap, two cloth face masks for each person, disinfecting wipes, and general household cleaning supplies to disinfect surfaces as part of one’s disaster kit.
“Preparations for the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season should be done in a timely manner to avoid the rush. Your disaster kit should be completed by the end of June and at the latest before the end of July. Hurricane season preparations must be in place before the start of the peak of the season in mid-August to mid-October.
“Use the quiet period of the season, which is from early June to the end of July, to trim tree branches near your home, as well as to cut off all dead or weak branches on trees on your property, clean up your yard and put away items that could blow away during a hurricane, and check your roof and storm shutters to make sure they are secure. …
“For those whose homes are not yet storm/hurricane ready, you should make alternative housing arrangements to stay at family or friends [during a storm]. Remember, it only takes one to make it a bad hurricane season. Be prepared, as it is your responsibility,” said ODM.
The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season officially ends on November 30.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/fire-chief-richardson-calls-for-hurricane-season-preparations