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Preparing For the Storm

A Disaster is defined as trauma that is affecting a community's ability to cope.

The common natural disasters affecting The Bahamas include:

1. Hurricanes

2. Tornadoes

3. Flooding

4. Medium and Large Forest Fires

Emotional Preparedness

When one hears of an impending storm, it may evoke thoughts and feelings of fear, anxiety worry and depression. Some persons may use alcohol and smoke cigarettes to cope with the acute stress symptoms, that arise when one hears of the impending storm. These are all normal reactions to the abnormal event, that is, of the approaching meteorological event: hurricane.

Stress is defined as a disturbance in one's physical and psychological equilibrium brought about by a disturbance in the world around you. We all as human beings, will experience stress in our daily lives which is an instinctual and protective mechanism in response to any impending threat/s in our environment. Hence, stress symptoms should not be feared but managed appropriately so that one does not become distressed (which is defined as stress leading to physical consequences and a loss of functioning in the person's life)

Despite these normal reactions, one should commence his or her hurricane preparedness program which should be the collection of much needed hurricane supplies, that is bottled water; LED flash-lights with extra batteries; dual band am-fm radio with batteries; essential canned food items; garbage bags; ice box/cooler to store ice; a gas cylinder; ensure that all prescription medications for family members are refilled; important documents such as passport, old photographs; certificates; land deed/conveyances are in waterproof bags; games for the children and adolescent and a first aid kit.

Preparedness of the Physical Environment before the Impact of The Storm

Ensure that your surroundings are free of potential missiles that can break your home windows, that is pieces of wood; steel; bricks; outdoor furniture's. Put away any outdoor furniture in your storage units and secure any items in the yard that may become a potential missile.

Secure all windows and patio doors and handle all of your pet's needs (food, medications and most importantly, adequate shelter inside your home or alternatively, in an enclosed area of the home, such as an enclosed patio or verandah area.

Involve your children and adolescents in the preparedness efforts around the house so that they will have a sense of involvement and educate them about the causes of hurricanes and the effects of hurricanes on the sea and land. Consequently, this will sensitize them to the approaching storm and allow you to assist them in allaying any fears that they may have, about the storm.

Impact of The Storm

You should have completed all of your hurricane preparedness just prior to the impact of the storm. Absolutely, do not venture outside when the storm has landed. As a family,

huddle around each other and play fun-filled games so as to distract smaller children, when the winds begin to howl and increase in intensity and the rains begin to beat heavily. Talk to one another regularly during the passage of the storm and stay close to each other.

Hug your children regularly during the storm and cuddle with your younger children giving them positive reassuring messages, "You are safe"; "I will protect you and keep you safe"; "the storm is temporary and will pass". Of importance, do not venture outside until the all clear, is given by the National Emergency Management Agency-NEMA.

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