Some expert advice from the EMO

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  • <B>Cots are set up at the Emergency Shelter housed at CedarBridge Senior School ahead of Igor striking in 2010.</B>

    Cots are set up at the Emergency Shelter housed at CedarBridge Senior School ahead of Igor striking in 2010.

The Bermuda Government’s Emergency Measures Organisation has a wealth of information of what the public should do before, during and after a hurricane including shelters where people can go.

The two main shelters are:

CedarBridge Academy Gymnasium

1 CedarBridge Lane

Prospect DV 02

Whitney Institute

59 Middle Road

Smith’s FL04

There are other school and church sites that may be used as Emergency Shelters in the case of a disaster. The Emergency Measures Organisation will determine which sites will be opened based on the specific circumstances of the disaster. The Emergency Shelters identified for use for the public will be announced in the Emergency Broadcast Station, FM 100.1 MHz once they have been arranged. If you need to evacuate your home take your pre-assembled emergency supplies with you to the nearest Emergency Shelters.

What to take/not take to the shelter

Shelters usually open their doors to the public during the “warning” stage of the hurricane emergency.

Do take:

3-4 days supply of food and drink that does not need cooking.

Can opener.

3-4 days supply of water (one gallon per day per person).

First aid kit that includes prescription medications.

Special needs items for infants (formula, bottles, diapers).

Special needs items for elderly or disabled family members.

If you have small children, do not forget to bring at least one of their favourite foods (e.g., breakfast cereal) and something to keep them occupied.

Bedding (sleeping bags, pillows).

Battery-powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries.

A change of clothes.

Extra set of car keys, credit cards, cash.

Passports and important family papers.

Reading materials and quiet games to help pass time and keep children occupied.

Car charger for your cell phone.

Do not take:


Cigarettes, other tobacco products or illegal drugs



Cooking equipment


Cots and air mattresses may not be allowed because of limited space.

A management team of trained civil servants and volunteers are in charge of the shelters.


During a potential threat and threat “take precautions”

Hurricane/tropical storm could come within 400 or 100 miles within 72 hours

Check emergency supplies and items for securing your home. Stock up.

Assess your home and make necessary repairs to roofs, etc.

Remove overhanging limbs and fruit from trees.

Decide whether you need to stay with friends or relatives or go to a shelter.

Find out which shelter is closest to you and decide how you will get there if you need to.

Make arrangements for your pets in case you have to go to a shelter.

Fill vehicles with gasoline and, if necessary, withdraw some cash from the bank.

Stay tuned to radio and local television for the latest official notices from the Emergency Measures Organization.

Watch “batten down”

Hurricane/tropical storm could strike within 36 hours


Put up shutters or board up windows, glass doors and skylights. Wedge sliding glass doors and windows to prevent them from lifting from their tracks.

Bring in or securely tie down everything that could be blown away, such as outdoor furniture, potted plants, clothes racks, garden tools, garbage pans, etc.

Remove antennas and satellite dishes to prevent damage or loss.


Sterilize bathtub, pans, jugs and bottles and fill with water.

Turn refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting and open as little as possible.

Warning “ take refuge”

Hurricane/tropical storm could strike within 24 hours

A Warning remains in effect until the storm has passed or is no longer a threat

Before the storm strikes

Close curtains and blinds to minimise the danger of flying glass if windows are broken.

Put your food and other hurricane supplies in plastic bags and containers so they won’t get wet.

Turn off outside gas cylinders and disconnect gas pipes.

Bring pets indoors. If you have to leave home and cannot find accommodation for your pets, leave them indoors along with food and litter.

Fill the bathtub and basin with water and brace the bathroom door open so they will have drinking water if water containers get knocked over. Make sure they are wearing identifying collars with metal/plastic tags.

If you intend to stay with relatives or friends, or to take pets to a kennel, go now.

Shelters will usually open during this phase. If you intend to go to a shelter, listen for announcements that the one nearest you is open. Before you leave, turn off the main power and fuel supply and take the items you have prepared.

Park vehicles inside the garage or away from trees

If you are remaining at home, go indoors, secure and brace external doors. You can brace an inward-swinging door by wedging a chair with the back against the door knob.

Stay indoors, but be ready to evacuate to a shelter or other location if your home is damaged, or if you are instructed to do so by emergency personnel

Use telephone for emergencies only.

Stay tuned to local media for official notices and instructions from the National Hurricane Committee.

During the storm

Close all inside doors. If the wind gets inside, closed doors will help stop it from entering other rooms. You can also brace inward-swinging doors by wedging a chair-back against the knob.

Do not go outside while the eye of the storm (an area of calm weather at the centre of the storm) is passing, unless absolutely necessary. Depending on the size of the eye and the speed at which the hurricane is travelling, the calm weather can last for up to half an hour or more, but winds will return unexpectedly from the opposite direction, sometimes with greater force. Don’t be caught off-guard!

NB:- The great majority of injuries during a hurricane are cuts and blows caused by flying glass, trees or other debris. Other injuries include puncture wounds resulting from exposed nails or metal, and bone fractures.

If your roof begins to fail, go to an inner room (preferably one without windows), or to a cupboard or passageway or empty bathtub or stall and shield yourself with a mattress.

What to do after the storm

All clear “beware”

Stay indoors until the authorities declare the storm is over. Note that the All Clear announcement may not be made immediately the storm passes because conditions may still make general movement unsafe.

Help injured or trapped persons, but …

Do not move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. Give first aid, where appropriate. Clearance, search and rescue and other emergency vehicles will go out as soon as conditions allow. Call 911 or 295-0011 for help.

Do not touch loose or damaged wires or anything that is touching them. Do not step in pools of water where such wires could be grounded.

Avoid trees, signs, buildings and other structures that appear damaged.

Do not go sightseeing; you may interfere with rescue work and also put you at risk.

If you have been away from home, do not return until advised by the authorities that it is safe to do so. Stay tuned to the Emergency Broadcast station FM 100.1 MHz for recovery information.

If your home has been damaged, enter with caution. Do not use candles or open flames, instead use a flashlight to inspect for damage.

Electrical Report fallen electricity poles and wires to BELCO, Police or Fire Services

Property damage - Make a list of damage to your property

Before starting clean-up, take pictures of damage, inside and out. They will be important documentation for any insurance claim.

Open windows and doors to ventilate and dry your home.

If there has been window or roof damage, try to protect your home from further rain damage by covering exposed areas with tarpaulin.

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Published Jun 1, 2012 at 11:51 am (Updated Jun 1, 2012 at 11:50 am)

Some expert advice from the EMO

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