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Residents urged to ‘have a plan in place’ ahead of hurricane season

by Shanna Moore
4 min read
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With the aim of equipping the public with information and tools necessary in preparation for the upcoming hurricane season, CariGuard, a storm protection and security solution company, hosted its annual National Disaster Preparedness Expo on Saturday. 

The expo, which took place in Six Roads, St Philip, brought together various organisations to offer a holistic approach to disaster preparedness, aiming to educate and equip the public to effectively handle the challenges of the hurricane season.

Among them were the Barbados Meteorological Services, the Department of Emergency Management (DEM), Guardsman Group and the Royal Barbados Police Force. 

Emphasising what he described as the “critical timing of the expo”, Sales Representative with CariGuard, Shane Hinds said, “The hurricane season starts on June the 1st and runs all the way up to the 30th of November and we as a group of businesses want to offer step-by-step to persons so they can be as prepared as possible.”

He also discussed the importance of pre-planning and avoiding last-minute rushes, acknowledging expert predictions for an active hurricane season this year. 

“The better we can prepare, the better we can recover. We’ve seen all the warnings and early forecasts that we are promised an above average season. Have a plan in place. If you can’t cover all openings in your house or business, have a safe room where your family or documents can stay safe during the passage. Don’t wait until the last minute … don’t procrastinate,” Hinds said.

Noting that CariGuard offers site visits and consultations, the representative encouraged the public to reach out to its offices for information on products and services that can assist with hurricane readiness for their homes and businesses.

Senior Meteorologist at Barbados Meteorological Services (BMS), Semelka Jackman, highlighted the importance of understanding and utilising meteorological data for effective disaster preparedness.

“We are here today at the CariGuard Expo 2024 to speak about natural disasters from a meteorological perspective that impact Barbados, and how persons can better understand what we do, so they can be prepared during weather events,” Jackman said. 

She shared that among items on display at the expo were instruments used by the BMS to measure weather patterns. 

We are showcasing  part of our observing system, which is an automatic weather station. We have 85 situated across Barbados where we can get weather parameters from across the island that help with our early warning system,” Jackman shared, adding that BMS also has instruments within the water to ‘help with the meteorological forecast for the marine space.’

Noting a key service provided by her office, the meteorologist told Barbados TODAY of the importance of their Impact-Base Forecasting, which educates the public on the meaning of meteorological terms.   

“We transition from what the weather is to what the weather will do, and talk about the impacts associated with it. So yes, we can forecast 50 millimetres of rainfall, and we may issue a flood watch associated with that, but then Barbadians might not know what 50 millimetres of rainfall will do, but if I start talking about impacts such as roads being flooded and traffic delays may occur then they will have a better idea of what to expect,” she explained. 

Also among exhibitors was the Barbados Police Service which showcased advanced technology such as drones and satellite communication equipment to aid in disaster response. 

Station Sergeant Jennifer Gibson of the Research and Development Department, who also sits on the Disaster Management Preparedness Committee  shared that drones are used in the initial damage assessment stage. 

“We may not be able to have a convoy of vehicles or police officers on foot to survey the landscape after an impact as that could be dangerous, so these drones give us a good aerial picture of what the land looks like based on the damage,” she said. (SM)

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