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VITEMA: Act Now … So You Aren’t Caught With Your Pants Down Like We Were After Maria

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CHRISTIANSTED — Friday marks the official start of the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season, which ends on November 30, 2018, with the peak occurring between mid-August and late October.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center, “the Atlantic could see another above-normal hurricane season this year.”

The Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA) is providing the community with the following preparedness steps you can take today.

Assemble A Disaster Supply Kit: Your disaster supply kit should include non-perishable food and water for each person for at least one week. Be sure to include a radio, flashlights, batteries, cash, first aid supplies, medications, hand sanitizer, personal hygiene items, baby supplies and copies of your critical information if you need to evacuate. Take pictures of your important documentation and email them to your secured email to ensure you are able to access them should the need arise.

Know Where To Go: If you are ordered to evacuate, know the local hurricane evacuation route(s) to take and have a plan for where you can stay. If you are not in an area that is advised to evacuate, and you decide to stay in your home, plan for adequate supplies in case you lose power and water for several days and you are not able to leave due to flooding or blocked roads.

Pet Emergency Kits: In an emergency, your pets will be even more dependent on you for their safety and well-being. Your family’s disaster plans must include your furry family members too.

Communicate: Talk with your family about what to do if a hurricane strikes. Include emergency plans for elderly and those with access and functional needs. Discussing hurricanes plans ahead of time helps reduce fear, particularly for younger children. Make an Emergency Communication Plan and ensure all household members are aware of the plan.
Register For Emergency Alerts And Notifications: You can get emergency alerts delivered to you via text message, email or via landline. Sign up for Alert VI today by clicking the following link Sign Up Here or by visiting

Prepare Your Home: Trim or remove damaged trees and limbs to keep you and your property safe. Secure loose rain gutters and downspouts and clear any clogged areas or debris to prevent water damage to your property, you can also look into something such as these gutter guards Roswell GA so you won’t have to worry about debris clogging your gutters leading to further damage. Purchase a portable generator, or install a generator for use during power outages.

“As we begin the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season, residents are advised to begin the necessary preparations today. You are also encouraged to ensure plans include pets, the elderly and those with access and functional needs,” said VITEMA Director, Mona Barnes. “At VITEMA, we have a commitment to ensure public safety, community awareness, and emergency preparedness and response. To this end, VITEMA will continue to do its part to prepare our territory for disasters, and disseminate timely and accurate information to our community. Continue to be safe, be prepared and be vigilant,” said Director Barnes.

For additional disaster preparedness and response information, visit the VITEMA website at

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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