J'cans urged to secure their properties for hurricane season before travelling

Sunday, August 13, 2017

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) is encouraging persons to take the time to ensure that their properties are protected before travelling, in the event that a tropical cyclone should affect the island.

Director of Preparedness and Emergency Management, at the ODPEM, Horace Glaze says that persons should make an assessment and put things in place to prevent any incidents or minimize the event of any such occurring.

He states that property owners should create and work from a checklist, especially looking if the properties are susceptible to landslides and wind damage.

“If you (live in a) flood prone (area) you need to put your furniture and other items on raised platforms. If you live in an area where the population is sparse, you may want to let the police know you might be away for an extended period. It’s really about assessing your personal circumstances, what your likely risks and vulnerabilities are and addressing them accordingly,” he says.

Glaze also encourages home and business owners, to check for any hazards, which could affect the safety of roofs and windows.

“Do a hazard hunt around the home…both externally and internal. You’re not at home... and the (strong) winds might just blow down a tree, which might pull down electric service wires. Plug out all unnecessary electrical (equipment), you’re less likely to have a fire at home as a result,” he informs.

He adds that trees should be pruned to prevent structural damage, in the event that a tree falls.
“If you’re doubtful of the structure and you need to do the necessary ‘tie downs’ do that. If you have shutters in place, pull them down to prevent glass from breaking. Some persons will be concerned about flooding, some persons about landslides while others may be concerned about wind damages,” he notes.

On the matter of placing concrete blocks and heavy stones on roofs, Glaze says persons should fix their roofs, using the proper roof screws, as ‘roof weights’ could pose a serious problem, in the event of a hurricane, especially for neighbours.

He further encourages persons to seek the guidance of their local artisans and Carpenters on how to properly strap down roofs, as simply placing heavy objects on the roof is not enough.
Meanwhile, the ODPEM director notes that often pets are forgotten and adequate preparations are not made to protect them.

He advises that plans must be put in place, to relocate pets from a house or an establishment, to a place where they can be housed to ride out the storm.

Glaze reiterates that steps must always be taken by persons to have their properties monitored either by a neighbour, family or other source, to ensure some level of security and protection during or after the adverse weather.

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