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These tips from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) will help you get ready for a tropical storm or hurricane:

1. Determine your risk for wind and water hazards, and prepare for how you will handle them. Hurricanes are not just a coastal problem; their impacts can be felt many miles inland. Storms such as Irma and Maria serve as reminders that major damage and disruption can be inflicted even when we are not directly impacted.

2. If you live in a hurricane evacuation zone, you should know where your community shelters are in case you have to leave home in a hurry. You should also plan your route in order to get there safely, if an evacuation order is issued. Be sure to account for your pets, as local shelters do not permit them. Put your evacuation plan in writing and share it with family members, neighbours and others you care about. It’s also a good idea to enrol in online and mobile banking so you’ll be able to manage your money while an event is unfolding.

3. Get an insurance check-up to ensure you have enough coverage to repair or replace your home. Don’t forget coverage for your car as well.

4. Create your basic disaster supplies kit:

• Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days
• Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
• First aid kit
• Cash
• Portable or crank charger for your cell phone
• Garbage bags
• Moist towelettes or wipes
• Manual can opener
• Lighter or matches
• Fire extinguisher (if possible)
• Dust mask
• Basic tool kit
• At least one change of clothes, and a sturdy pair of shoes or work boots

5. Regardless of whether you plan to evacuate or ride out a storm at home, make sure your house is in good repair and up to local hurricane building code specifications. Secure shutters or plywood for window coverings, and check the security of all the doors on your house.

6. Stay tuned to local media for information on disaster assistance and resources, and weather updates along with instructions from the Disaster Management Authorities such as NEMA and The St. Kitts Met Services.

Don’t wait until a hurricane is at your doorstep; make your plan and gather supplies now. Advance preparation, before a hurricane threatens, will make you more resilient to its impacts. Be assured that the National Emergency Management Agency is prepared to weather any storms that might come our way. We’re here to help before and after disaster strikes.