Preparing For Hurricane Season In The Cayman Islands

Every year in the Cayman Islands, carnival finishes and our island’s residents start turning their attention to preparing for hurricane season. ‘Preparedness makes sense and saves lives!’, that was the message from the Minister for Financial Services and Home Affairs, Hon. Tara Rivers, JP MLA on the Cayman Islands National Day of Preparedness this year, who encouraged residents to review their family and business plans as well as looking at ways to increase preparation in the local community and how to help out if a hurricane does hit.


We’ve put together a few tips to get you thinking, are you hurricane prepared?!


1. When is Hurricane Season in the Cayman Islands?

Hurricane season begins on June 1 and ends on November 30, although hurricanes can, and have, occurred outside of this time frame. 


2. Plan Your Evacuation Route.

It’s important that you know what route you are going to take should you need to evacuate your home. You’ll get instructions from the Local Authorities but it’s useful to know where the nearest emergency shelters are ahead of time and even have a trial run. Take into consideration your pets and any important documents you may need or want to keep safe, such as passports.


3. Stock Up On Emergency Supplies.

Stores like A.L. Thompson’s and Kirk Market will be popular destinations when a hurricane warning is issued! So make sure that you stock up on essential items well in advance! We’ve made a list of useful items that no home should be without in the run up to hurricane season.

  • A flashlight
  • Extra batteries
  • Candles or lamps with fuel
  • Matches (be sure to keep these dry!)
  • Materials and tools for emergency home repairs – such as heavy plastic sheeting, plywood sheets, hammer and nails etc.
  • Prescription drugs such as paracetamol
  • A minimum three-day supply of bottled drinking water
  • Food that you don’t have to refrigerate or cook, a stock of tinned food is ideal
  • a first aid kit and supplies
  • A portable, weather proof radio
  • A wrench and other basic tools

Remember to check the dates on perishable items as they may need to be replenished over time. 


4. Is Your Home Insurance Up To Date?

Not all hurricane planning is about what you do when the storm hits, one of the most important things you can do is to make sure you have adequate insurance for your home and possessions. Remember, you may need to take out separate policies to cover things such as hurricane damage. Speak to an insurance adviser to find a policy that is best suited to your needs.


5. Protect Your Home!

There are many simple tasks that you can carry out in the lead up to hurricane season that can really make a difference in protecting your home.

  • Replace gravel or rock landscaping materials with shredded bark, which is lighter and won’t cause as much damage if strong winds whip it up.
  • Cut over-hanging branches, dead wood and coconuts from trees that are close to your house. Trees are one of the main causes of damage when a hurricane hits.
  • Storm shutters are a great way to protect your windows and doors from flying objects. Alternately, if you know a hurricane is coming, fit plywood or plastic sheeting over them to prevent impact damage and broken glass.
  • Make sure exterior doors are hurricane proof and have at least three hinges and a dead bolt lock that is at least one-inch long.
  • Check glass doors, ideally they will be glazed with tempered glass and, during a storm, covered with shutters or sheeting.
  • Replace old garage doors and tracks with a door that is approved for both wind pressure and impact protection. Wind coming into your home through an opening this large can cause big problems for the rest of your home – especially the roof.
  • Seal outside wall openings such as vents, outdoor electrical outlets, garden hose bibs and locations where cables or pipes go through the wall. Use a high quality urethane-based seal to prevent water penetration.
  • If you have a boat on a trailer, know how to anchor the trailer to the ground or to a secure point on the house – and don’t forget to review your boat insurance policy!


6. What To Do When a Hurricane Hits.

There are some important dos and don’ts to take into account should a hurricane hits, we’ve made a list of some of the key points below:

  • Stay inside and away from windows, skylights and glass doors. Find a safe area in the home (an interior room, a closet or bathroom on the lower level).
  • Listen for reports from authorities on your portable radio.
  • If flooding becomes a threat, make sure you turn off electricity at the main breaker.
  • If you lose power to your home, turn off major appliances such as the A.C. unit and the water heater to prevent damage.
  • Do not use electrical appliances, including your computer.
  • Do not go outside. If the eye of the storm passes over your area, there will be a short period of calm, but don’t let this fool you, at the other side of the eye, the wind speed rapidly increases to hurricane force and will come from the opposite direction. You could easily be caught out and risk being hit by flying debris.
  • Beware of lightning. Unplug electrical equipment and don’t take a bath/shower during the storm.
  • Remember that you can use a cell phone during a severe storm but it’s not safe to use a land-line telephone.
  • Always check the marine forecast before going boating and listen to weather reports during your cruise.
  • Never go out in a boat during a storm. If you are on the water and you see bad weather approaching it’s best to stay safe and head for shore immediately.
  • Do not go down to the water to watch the storm. Most people who are killed during hurricanes are caught in large waves, storm surges or flood waters.


 7. What To Do After a Hurricane.

  • Keep listening to your portable radio, the Cayman Islands Authorities will announce information and special instructions.
  • Be careful during clean-up as there could be many hidden hazards. Wear protective clothing and work in teams of at least 2 people.
  • Do not touch electrical equipment if it is wet or if you are standing in water. If it is safe to do so it’s a good idea to turn off electricity at the main breaker or fuse box to prevent further risk of electric shock.
  • Avoid wading in flood water, which can contain dangerous debris. Underground or downed power lines can also electrically charge the water.
  • Save phone calls for emergencies. Phone systems are often down or busy after a disaster. Use text messages or social media to communicate with family and friends.
  • It’s probably not the first thing on your mind after a hurricane, but documenting any property damage with photographs early on could really help you out in any insurance claim you may make. Contact your insurance company for assistance.
Preparing For Hurricane Season In The Cayman Islands

Look out for these signs directing people to an Emergency Shelter in the Cayman Islands

Best Beaches In The Cayman Islands

Best Beaches In The Cayman Islands

{!{wpv-post-title}!} Millions of tourists flock to the Cayman Islands each year, many come to visit our best beaches and if you are local you get the enjoy them all year round. Whether you prefer a quiet relaxing spot or lots of activities there is so much diversity...

read more
Dressing Your Home For Sale

Dressing Your Home For Sale

{!{wpv-post-title}!} So you have decided to sell your property, the likelihood is you want it to go through swiftly, so here are a few tips you can follow on how dressing your home can make the process as efficient as possible and maybe even add to the value along the...

read more
World Turtle Day At Spotts Beach

World Turtle Day At Spotts Beach

{!{wpv-post-title}!} May 23rd marks World Turtle Day each year and here in the Cayman Islands you are sure to see plenty of beautiful turtles at many of the wonderful beaches, snorkel and dive spots around the Islands. Our favourite place to go and see the turtles is...

read more
The Grand Cayman Blue Iguana

The Grand Cayman Blue Iguana

{!{wpv-post-title}!} Found only on Grand Cayman, the Blue Iguana is Grand Cayman’s largest native land animal. Once numbering in the tens of thousands, Blues numbers declined so by 2001 fewer than 25 individuals were estimated to remain in the wild. Fortunately the...

read more