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EDITORIAL: We must always be prepared


BARBADOS NATION

EDITORIAL: We must always be prepared

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YESTERDAY WAS THE START of the hurricane season and once again Barbadians are being told they need to be prepared. Officials at the Department of Emergency Management (DEM) are urging Bajans to brace themselves for a busy season with the possibility of flooding and land slippage, given current weather patterns.

It is the oft-repeated refrain eachyear for all to be ready for the eventuality of heavy rains, a serious storm or a hurricane. Add to that the fact that Barbados is also susceptible to tsunamis, earthquakes and severe drought.

So we all need to all take heed and take the necessary steps to ensure that we are not just prepared, but also protected from these threats and natural disasters.

Barbadians, unfortunately, tend to be last-minute people and despite the cautions issued each year by officials, there is still a mad scramble when weather bulletins are issued by the local Meteorological Office informing of impending systems thatpose a threat. It is at that point thatmany people take note and as a result,form long queues in supermarkets to stock up on non-perishable items, and other essentials like candles, kerosene, lamps and matches.

We encourage everyone to beprepared and start getting those items together from now. It is important that every household is properly stocked with everything needed in case there is a hurricane, tropical storm or bad weather coming this way. We can never be too prepared. Start to compile your list soyou are not caught unprepared.

Water is just as important as fooditems in these situations and this precious resource must be stored in abundancefrom early.

Checks must also be made aroundhomes to ensure that all potential missiles that can cause serious danger, are cleared away. In addition, individuals living in low-lying areas must also be aware of the hurricane shelters closest to them. Government as well as DEM officialsneed to ensure that these buildingsare re-examined to make sure they arefit to be shelters for those who need toseek safe haven.

It is also critical that the elderly and the most vulnerable in society are taken care of when there is any emergency, and as such, disaster personnel must have contingency plans in place. With the hurricane season upon us, we cannot afford to leave anything or anyone to chance.

We must always be prepared todeal with the eventuality of a natural disaster that could come our way, andputting our emergency plans in placethat would allow us to ride out any system that passes.

A word to the wise would be to follow the motto of the Scouts – Be Prepared!

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