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ODM: Be Sure to Plan Ahead. Let’s Be Prepared

Ana, was the first-named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season which officially kicks off on June 1st to form outside the season. The sub-tropical storm formed last Saturday near Bermuda and dissipated on Sunday.

This is the seventh consecutive year with a named storm forming prior to the start of the season. Named storms have been forming prior to the start of the season since 2015. Last year saw two named storms form before the start of the 2020 hurricane season, namely Arthur and Bertha.

The Office of Disaster Management (ODM) which falls under the Fire Department (Ministry of General Affairs) headed by Fire Chief/Disaster Coordinator Clive Richardson, said on Thursday that this is a stark reminder that all residents and

businesses need to plan ahead and let’s Be Prepared! Weather forecasters have already said that the

2021 Atlantic hurricane season will be an active one.

ODM calls on residents to review the content of their Disaster Kit and to start restocking it with the essentials that are necessary to ride out the hurricane season.

Every household’s Disaster Kit should be able to support members of the household for a minimum of seven days after the hurricane has passed.

The Disaster Kit should contain non-perishable food, water and medicine (fill prescriptions before the storm); non-electric can opener; first-aid kit; extra cash (ATM machines and credit cards won’t work if there is no electricity); a battery powered radio and flashlights as well as extra batteries; make sure cell phones are all charged prior to the arrival of the hurricane; fill up your car/truck with gas; check if your home and automobile insurance are up to date; put ID cards, passports and driver’s license, insurance papers in a waterproof bag along with other important documents.

If you are a parent with an infant or young child (ren), you also need to have essential items as part of your disaster supply kit: baby formula; diapers; bottles; powdered milk; medications; moist towels; and diaper rash ointment.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of Government mandated public health and safety measures are in place. The aforementioned must also be taken into consideration for hurricane season preparations.

Your Disaster Kit must also include hand sanitizer, a soap bar or liquid soap; two cloth face coverings for each person; disinfecting wipes, or general household cleaning supplies to disinfect surfaces.

Now is the time to trim back tree branches from your home; cut all dead or weak branches on any trees on your property; clean-up your yard and put away items that could blow away during the passing of a hurricane; check your roof and storm shutters to make sure they are secure, and the latter are working.

For those whose homes are not yet storm/hurricane ready, you should make alternative housing arrangements to stay at family or friends.

The community is urged to learn more about hurricane hazards and how to prepare for a storm/hurricane strike by visiting the Government website: www.sintmaartengov.org/hurricane where you will be able to download your “Hurricane Season Readiness Guide’ and “Hurricane Tracking Chart.”

The storm names for the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season are: Bill, Claudette, Danny, Elsa, Fred, Grace, Henri, Ida, Julian, Kate, Larry, Mindy, Nicholas, Odette, Peter, Rose, Sam, Teresa, Victor and Wanda.

Listen to the Government Radio station – 107.9FM - for official information and news before, during and after a hurricane.

For official weather-related information, check out the website of the Meteorological Department of St. Maarten (MDS): www.meteosxm.com or visit their social media page Facebook.com/sxmweather/

Remember, it only takes one hurricane to make it a bad season. Be prepared this hurricane season!
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