KINGSTON, Jamaica — As Jamaica prepares for what could become a tropical storm, OBSERVER ONLINE has prepared a list of tips to keep you and your family safe and to also ensure you are ready for any eventuality.
When preparing for a hurricane, the nation’s disaster preparedness agency, The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) recommends that one:
– Check on emergency items such as water boots, raincoats, flashlights and batteries, battery-powered radio, hurricane lamp, matches, hurricane shutters, hooks and latches.
– Have a first aid kit ready
– Keep all important documents tucked away in plastic bags
– Stock up on approximately 4-5 days' supply of food that does not need cooking or refrigeration.
– Make sure you have material for battening up doors and windows.
– Trim trees with branches near to buildings or electrical lines. Also, pick fruits off trees and ensure that any other item that could potentially become a missile during heavy winds are secured
– Have an understanding of the hurricane warning system – Alert, Watch and Warning. These are indicators of how far away the hurricane is from your location. Stay tuned to weather bulletins and advisory from the Meteorological Service of Jamaica.
– Keep in touch with your Parish Disaster Preparedness Committee and know how the committee works.
– Make sure that emergency cooking facilities such as coal stoves are in good working condition as these may be necessary.
– Make sure you have a supply of kerosene and coal. Keep coal dry by wrapping it in a plastic bag or other waterproof material.
– Make sure your car is ready before the storm hits. Fill your car’s gas tank. Move vehicles into your garage or under cover. Always keep an emergency kit in your car.
– Stay indoors during the passage of the storm. If you must evacuate, make sure you are aware of the easiest route to your nearest shelter. Don’t know where shelters in your area are located? The ODPEM has provided a list of shelters islandwide at https://www.odpem.org.jm/shelters/.
The Meteorological Service Division is reporting that Tropical Depression Nine has formed over the central Caribbean Sea and is expected to continue its slow strengthening over the next couple of days while moving closer to Jamaica.
A severe weather alert remains in effect for the island.
In a release on Friday, the Meteorological Service stated that as of 4;00 am the centre of Tropical Depression Nine was located near latitude 13.9 degrees north, longitude 68.6 degrees west, or about 985 kilometres (615 miles) east-southeast of Kingston, or 930 kilometres (580 miles) east-southeast of Morant Point, Jamaica.