As Tropical Storm Ernesto moves south of Grand Cayman today, Friday marked the first meeting of the governments National Hazard Management Council for the 2012 Hurricane Season. As of today, Monday, the Cayman Islands are no longer under Tropical Storm Watch - BUT be PREPARED!...

By: Lisa Blomgren

H urricane Season runs from June through November.

hurricane "must-do" list(s) should be reviewed and posted for easy access. September historically has been the peak month for hurricanes - take action NOW. Hurricane preparedness is the single most important plan to put into action in advance of any storm. Don't become complacent, be ready at all times! When a storm hits, you have no time to spare, you & your family depend on readiness! Checking must-do lists, ensuring travel documents are in order, and purchasing supplies in advance are KEY for surviving a storm.

U rgent attention & care should be given to your Travel Documents.

Be sure you have your passport or visa up-to-date with all necessary stamps in place. Remember you are not able to travel on an expired passport, be sure it is current. Passports, Birth Certificates, and Immunization documents should ALL be stored in protective coverings to ensure they are not damaged during a storm.

R emember hurricane food stuffs should be non-perishable items.

These food stuffs are able to be purchased well in advance. Things like bottled water, oatmeal, rice, canned chicken breast & tuna, chili, almonds & raisins, peanut butter, snacks, olive oil, batteries, flashlights, matches or lighters are ALL items that you should have put aside NOW as your Hurricane Survival Kit and they should be ready to go should you have to move quickly.

R eview your plan of action.

You must have a plan in place whether you are planning on staying with friends during a storm or need to stay at a government shelter, have the plan in place. Be familiar with where the public government shelters are. Have emergency phone numbers posted and available to everyone. Contact overseas relatives and let them know where you or your family will be staying so they are informed.

I nformation on Hurricane Preparedness can be found on these websites http://www.caymanprepared.gov.ky and http://www.gov.ky as well as being available on Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwNm9MF8aZg or on the government Facebook & Twitter accounts.

C heck your homeowner/vehicle Insurance Policy.

Be sure ALL your insurance policies are current and in order PRIOR to any storm! The time to call your agent is now so that you can be sure you are current & covered with everything necessary.

A dvance planning is KEY.

Things like first aid kits, prescriptions, supplies to secure your home like plywood, nails, and plastic should all be ready to go.

N ote & post ALL Emergency phone numbers.

Make that list of emergency contact numbers & post it so it is visible to everyone.

E mergency Management - vitally important.

Stay informed of all "Official" Storm information, do not pass on gossip. Official storm information will be reported via radio, Internet & TV. Have those batteries in advance to power your radios & TV's & be sure your cell phone is charged!

S tay tuned for more tips on Hurricane Preparedness, a vitally important part of Island Life. Be safe everyone!

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