Hurricanes and our finances – How to be prepared!

Author : teriann

The year that stands out in my mind the most is 1988. That was the year that Hurricane Gilbert had a direct impact on Jamaica. As a category 5 hurricane, the effect it had on the island was catastrophic.

As a young child that event made an impact on me as it highlighted various vulnerabilities in our relief systems and made me appreciate having access to basic necessities. There was such an immediate shortage of certain food items that it was a shock to my system.

Persons had not really believed that the hurricane would have made such an impact and few persons had made the necessary preparations.

Years have passed since then and many more hurricanes have made their mark on our island.  Have we learned from our past experiences?

Hurricane Preparations

I believe that as the years have passed, Jamaicans have taken warnings a lot more seriously and have made more preparations.  Some communities especially those occupied by low income families are still more vulnerable as there is often little they can do to strengthen their home against the storm.

There is still a mad rush to supermarkets and hardware stores whenever there is an announcement of an impending hurricane. After the storm passes, the clean up can take a lot of time and money.

As a result persons have resorted to doing much of the work themselves perhaps teaming up with neighbours rather than paying for professional services. Often persons have to stretch their dollar in order to make all the preparations needed.

Therefore hurricane season which began on June 1 was met with increased anxiety.  It is especially noteworthy that weather forecasters have reported that this season will be as active as previous ones and might even be more active than usual.

That is certainly an unsettling thought!

Be prepared

There is a way of course to mitigate the anxiety. If you are prepared before the hurricane actually comes then throughout the season you can breathe a sigh of relief regardless of the weather.

The budget is often tight but as it approaches the summer months it makes sense to gradually stockpile tinned products. This means buying an extra tin each time you shop and putting it away. Tinned products can last a long time in storage so even if we don’t experience a heavy storm, they can still be safely stored.

Checking your property is also a vital component of preparing for the hurricane season.  If you realize that repairs to the roof need to be done doing so gradually will lessen the blow of trying to scramble to do so at the time of the impending disaster. It is also important to note that making an investment in hurricane shutters will be useful in protecting your home during all the storms that we might face.

The key to successful planning is to start early and getting everything in place so that your finances are in order and there is no extra strain during the hurricane season.

So how do you prepare for the hurricane season? Let me hear from you!

Teri Ann Renee Paisley

Gleaner online writer

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