How you can prepare for the hurricane season
There have already been three named storms this hurricane season. What advice can the embassy offer to US citizens in Jamaica to prepare for hurricane season?
A: Everyone in Jamaica can learn, plan, and prepare.
The hurricane season runs from June through November each year. While these are times when storms are most likely to happen, it is possible for intense storms to occur outside of these ranges as we have already seen this year. Additionally, the past several years have seen an overall increase in the quantity and intensity of storms, particularly in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico.
Plan ahead, and take responsibility for your own safety before an emergency arises. The US and Jamaican governments offer a number of public resources to aid in planning. Take the time now to write down your hurricane plan so you can be more resilient should a storm threaten.
Jamaica’s Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management provides resources at www.odpem.org.jm.
The US Federal Emergency Management Agency offers tips for developing a plan at www.ready.gov.
Preparing for hurricane season and other potential disasters can be stressful, and because the 2020 hurricane season comes during the COVID-19 pandemic, it may be especially so.
Account for extra COVID-19 impacts. Give yourself more time than usual to prepare your emergency food, water, and medicine supplies. Pay attention to local guidance on plans for evacuations and shelters. Ensure your emergency kit includes items that can help protect you and others from COVID-19, such as hand sanitiser, or bar or liquid soap if hand sanitiser is not available, and two cloth face coverings for each person over the age of two.
Monitor the weather. Storm forecasts can be found on the US National Hurricane Center’s website at www.nhc.noaa.gov. If you do not have ready access to a computer, pay attention to local media reports throughout the hurricane season.
Enrol in the US Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). US citizens can enrol at step.state.gov to receive important safety and security messages and make it easier for the embassy to locate and assist you in an emergency.
Should a situation require an evacuation of US citizens overseas, the State Department will work with commercial airlines to ensure US citizens are repatriated as safely and efficiently as possible. Commercial airlines are the State Department’s primary source of transportation in an evacuation. It is best to depart before a storm makes landfall, when commercial transportation is still available. More information on US Department of State services during a crisis can be found at www.travel.state.gov.
For more information about American citizen services, please visit our website at https://jm.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/
You can find more information on our website, www.jm.usembassy.gov or by visiting www.travel.state.gov Keep on top of embassy news on our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/USEmbassyJamaica/ and by following @USEmbassyJA on Twitter . We also answer general visa questions on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
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