Preparing for the Storm
With the entire family develop a complete action plan. This plan should include evacuation procedures and preparation tips for both inside and outside the house.
- Develop a complete “Hurricane Kit”. Stock up on emergency supplies including a first aid kit, batteries, flashlights, matches, candles, fire extinguisher, sterno, fuel, sand and a bucket and rope (for gathering fresh water from your tank).
- Stock up on canned/dry foods that require little preparation and cooking (make sure that you have a mechanical can opener).
- Sterilize and fill jugs, bottles, etc. with drinking water; fill the bathtub to enable flushing of the toilets.
- Pet owners should stock up on pet food also.
- Check on supply of necessary medications.
- Put important documents in waterproof container.
- If necessary, withdraw some cash from the bank.
- Unplug any appliances, computers, televisions and equipment that may be susceptible to power spikes or surges.
- Make sure that animals are kept indoors where possible.
- Charge your mobile phone(s).
- Keep your (battery powered) radio tuned to local stations or the Government Emergency Broadcast Facility (FM 100.1 MHz) for continuous weather updates.
- Secure storm shutters and/or tape or board up windows. Apply masking tape in “X”s in your windows – this will not stop anything from breaking, but it may help keep the glass from shattering.
- Remove or secure awnings.
- Plug water tank roof drains with rags or other suitable items to prevent ingress of leaves and other debris into the tank during the storm. BE AWARE OF THE POTENTIAL FOR WATER TO OVERFLOW FROM ROOF AREAS AND CAUSE FLOOD DAMAGE TO THE HOUSE. DO NOT BLOCK DRAINS WHICH COULD GIVE RISE TO THIS SITUATION.
- Make sure roof down pipes are fitted with securely installed strainers.
- If you have a garage, brace garage doors from the inside.
- Disconnect propane gas tank and turn off main gas line.
During the Storm
DO NOT GO OUTSIDE and stay clear of windows.
If the ‘eye’ of the storm should pass directly over the island, the weather may clear and become calm. This will last anywhere from a few minutes to an hour depending on the speed of the storm. REMAIN INSIDE YOUR HOUSE during this time and only venture out to make emergency repairs. The storm will resume from the opposite direction and is usually stronger.
NB: The great majority of injuries during a hurricane are cuts and blows caused by flying glass, trees or other debris. Other injuries include puncture wounds resulting from exposed nails or metal and bone fractures.
- Stay indoors, but be ready to evacuate to a shelter or other location if your home is damaged, or if you are instructed to do so by emergency personnel.
- If your roof begins to fail, go to an inner room (preferably one without windows), or to a cupboard or passageway or empty bathtub or stall and shield yourself with a mattress.
- If you must use your car, keep watch for falling branches and power lines.
- Use telephone for emergencies only.
- Continue to listen for weather updates on either the local stations or the Government Emergency Broadcast Facility (FM 100.1 MHz).
Before & During the Storm: How to cope with and keep children relaxed.
During a severe storm or hurricane, children can become very scared. Plan on speaking to them about the storm a day to a day-and-a-half before the storm arrives. A very important factor however, is to remain calm and upbeat. If you are scared, your children will sense it and a child’s fears may intensify.
Also, be sure to explain in detail what storms or hurricanes can do. The more the child knows about safety precautions, the more confident they will be during the storm.
Get your child involved in preparing the hurricane kit or plan of action. When stocking supplies, allow them to choose food items they enjoy.
When a storm hits, stress to the child the importance of being on their best behaviour. During the storm, sing songs or play games to keep them occupied and to relieve some stress.
Caring for Your Pets
Before & During the Storm: Make sure your pet has plenty of food and water and ensure your pet is wearing a collar with identification.
Try to make your pet as comfortable as possible by giving them a safe and familiar place to stay.
Provide a familiar towel or blanket and any necessary medications.
After the Storm
Listen to either the local stations or the Government Broadcasting Channel for further information including the possible necessity for sterilising drinking water.
- Check on neighbors, especially the elderly or infirmly.
- Report any physical injuries, fallen trees or downed power lines to the necessary organisations and fully cooperate with Disaster Relief efforts.
- DO NOT drive unless absolutely necessary.
- DO NOT go sightseeing; you may interfere with rescue work and also put yourself at risk.
- If you must drive, keep watch for debris, dangling wires and fallen trees.
- If power is off, DO NOT open your fridge or freezer unless necessary.
- Before starting clean-up, take pictures of damage, inside and out. They will be important documentation for any insurance claim
- Make an accurate assessment of damage to your property (home, vehicles, boats, etc.).
- Secure your property as best as you can.
- Sterilise or boil drinking water drawn from tanks until you are satisfied that it is not polluted.
- Report damage to your insurance company so that they may be aware of claims and can advise you on corrective actions. Remember, taking photos of the damage can be very helpful.
Do not wait for W&E to clear your street.
If possible, get your neighbors together to clear the area for police or ambulance, but do not over exert yourself.
- W&E should pick up trash as soon as possible; priority is given to household garbage, so separate it from other trash and debris. If you fail to do so, you will create a health risk and attract animals.
- Make temporary repairs as soon as possible to keep further damage from occurring; make sure you document damage with photos as insurance policies pay for these temporary repairs. Know your insurance policies and keep all receipts.
- If you hire an individual or business to help you with repairs, check to make sure they possess a permit authorising them to do the work. This is for your own protection.
- Never pay the entire amount before repairs are completed. Reputable contractors will not demand huge down payments.
- Get a receipt for everything.
- If there is a large amount of water inside your home, leave it well ventilated to allow for drying.
- If your insurance does not cover it, or you wish to clean your home after the storm, follow these guidelines…
- Remove water from the home by bailing or pumping it out as soon as safely possible.
- Remove excess sand and mud before it dries.
- Air out your house by opening all windows, this will help dry out your walls and carpets.
- Scrub your floors and walls with soap and water.
- Unplug all appliances as a safety precaution.
- Remove odors in your refrigerator by cleaning with detergent and water. If odor remains, wash with baking soda or ammonia.
- Clean outside of ovens with a grease cutter, then with water and soap clean oven.
- Sanitise washers and dishwashers by pouring a disinfectant into the empty washer.
- If possible, run a cycle using hot water.
- Use disinfectant solution to clean dryer. Rinse with water.
- Leave dryers, washers and dishwashers open to dry out. Sanitise all areas that will be used in and around these appliances.
- Remove mud by hand by rinsing repeatedly. Use machine when you can no longer remove the dirt and soil by hand.
- Because clothes soaked by floodwaters may be contaminated, clean with a disinfectant.
- Remove mildew stains by using detergent and bleach.
- Shampoo rugs and carpets immediately. Use an electric fan to dry or hang on an available line.
- Check the base of the fiber on rugs and carpets for mildew.
- Have your mattress cleaned/sterilised by the company where you bought it.
- Clean wooden furniture outside the house. Return in house to dry.
- Remove water spots and stains with turpentine.
- Upholstered furniture needs more extensive cleaning if it has been water soaked. You will need to clean springs and coils and replace stuffing.
- Unplug all appliances and let them dry thoroughly. Do not open to dry. Let it dry by itself.
- When you plug it in, if it doesn’t come on, smokes or makes a cracking noise unplug immediately and take it to be repaired.
Emergency Contacts & Shelters
BELCO (Power Outage)
BTC (Repair Service)
Rescue Coordination Centre
FM 100.1 MHz
Government Emergency Broadcasting Channel
The Emergency Measures Organization will determine which shelters will be opened based on the specific circumstances of the disaster. The Emergency Shelters identified for use for the public will be announced in the Emergency Broadcast Station, FM 100.1 MHz once they have been arranged. If you need to evacuate your home take your pre-assembled emergency supplies with you to the nearest Emergency Shelter.
Emergency Medical Centers
King Edward VIII Hospital
7 Point Finger Rd, Paget DV 04, Bermuda
Phone: (441) 239 2009
In emergencies where the Causeway Bridge is closed, medical coverage for the East End community will be carried out by the Lamb Foggo, Urgent Care Centre located at 1, Hall Street, Southside, St Georges, (between the Police Station and the building that used to house White’s Supermarket). The hours of operation are Monday to Friday 4pm to midnight, Saturday and Sunday 12 noon to midnight. During severe weather, these hours might be extended.
Urgent Care Centre (441) 298 7700
There is one approved pre-hurricane shelter:
Cedarbridge Academy Gymnasium
1 Cedarbridge Lane
Prospect DV 02
There are other school and church sites that may be used as Emergency Shelters in the case of a disaster. The EMO will determine which sites will be opened based on the specific circumstances of the disaster. A management team of trained public officers and volunteers are in charge of the shelters.
What to Take to the Emergency Shelter
Shelters usually open their doors to the public during the warning stage of the hurricane.
- 3-4 days supply of food that does not need cooking;
- Can opener;
- 3-4 days supply of water (one gallon per day per person);
- First aid kit that includes prescription medications;
- Special needs items for infants (formula, bottles, diapers);
- Special needs items for elderly or disabled family members;
- Bedding (sleeping bags, pillows);
- Battery-powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries;
- Change of clothes;
- Extra set of car keys, credit cards, cash;
- Passports and important family papers;
- Reading materials and quiet games to help pass time and keep children occupied;
- Car charger for your cell phone.
Do not take:
- Cigarettes, other tobacco products or illegal drugs;
- Cooking equipment;
Cots and air mattresses may not be allowed because of limited space.
Watches & Warnings
These are the different types of watches and warnings issued when a tropical storm or hurricane approaches.
Sustained winds 34 to 63 knots (39 to 72 m.p.h.)
Tropical Storm Watch
Tropical Storm force winds are forecast to occur within 36 hours
Tropical Storm Warning
Tropical Storm force winds are forecast to occur within 24 hours
Sustained winds in excess of 64 knots (73 m.p.h.)
Hurricane force winds are forecast to occur within 36 hours
Hurricane force winds are forecast to occur within 24 hours