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AWRIGHT DEN!: Wake-up call


Corey Worrell

AWRIGHT DEN!: Wake-up call

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It seems like the Government’s handling of the finances and economy of Barbados shakes even the earth.
On Tuesday morning, most Barbadians woke up to the news that an earthquake had occurred 172 kilometres north-northeast of the island with a magnitude of 6.4. In my opinion, the potential danger of an earthquake is determined by four main things:
1. The distance from the epicentre – which is the point on the earth’s surface directly above the focus of the earthquake. The effects are more severe at its centre.
2. The magnitude – the most devastating earthquakes typically have magnitudes between 5.5 and 8.9.
3. The level of development – more developed countries generally have the resources and technology to monitor, predict and respond to an earthquake.
4. Preparation and planning – this helps reduce the effects and after effects of an earthquake.
Number four on the list above is our personal responsibility and is where I want to focus this article.
Bajans are passive, slow and easy going with most things. Since we have been spared in recent times, we tend not to take disasters seriously.
If this earthquake was a direct threat to us, most of us would have been unprepared and since it occurred while most of us were asleep, many could have been hurt, confused or have died.
Each family should have a family emergency plan (FEP) in the event of any emergency. One of the dangers of an earthquake is the possibility of a tsunami.
Here are some things you should seriously consider: the hospital, Central Police Station, the Central Bank, Barbados Light & Power, the Defence Force, Starcom Network, Government Headquarters, Parliament Building, Sandy Crest Medical Centre, Transport Board, petroleum providers, Belleville medical facilities and most hotels are all situated in areas where a tsunami can easily reach and destroy them.
The design of a FEP is based on the characteristics of your family. Within the plan you should have general protocols for all types of emergencies and they should be mounted in the home as well as stored on your mobile devices.
The plan could include who to contact, where as a family you assemble, who gets the children/other family members, which vehicle to use, who shuts off the breaker and so on.
There should be a small suitcase with easy access comprising some of the following: passports, marriage and birth certificates, children’s green books, medical needs and information inclusive of blood type, changes of clothing, flashlights and a portable radio with extra batteries, battery-powered walki-talkies, small first aid kit, money, Swiss knife or Leatherman, toiletries inclusive of diapers, blue soap and sanitiser. In the event a family member is disabled or elderly, their needs will be different and should be adequately accounted for.
I do not practise, neither do I encourage people to go to sleep at night knowing their vehicle is on empty. In the event you have to leave home urgently to get somewhere during the night, it means you have to drive quickly; the quicker you drive, the faster the gas burns and you don’t want to run out of gas during an emergency. I believe a small fire extinguisher, a cutting tool, gloves, a flashlight, a bottle of drinking water and a few snacks should always be found in your vehicle.
Where possible, at all times keep in safe storage within your home a case of bottled drinking water, non-perishable foods like peanut butter, tuna, baked beans, spaghetti, snacks, baby food, a box of biscuits and so on. One should also have portable lamps in each room of the house and each family member issued with their own flashlight.
Two or three fire extinguishers may be needed depending on the size of the house; one in the kitchen, one in the bedroom and one in the main house. If there are security bars on all your widows, I would advise for at least one to be in the form of a window security gate, which can be opened by a key.
Tuesday’s tremor was a wake-up call and an opportunity for us as a people to get ourselves in order; let’s not waste anymore time.
Corey Worrell is a former Commonwealth Youth Ambassador. Email [email protected]

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