Director of the Department of Emergency Management (DEM), Kerry Hinds. (FP)

Residents across Barbados are being warned to leave nothing to chance as officials continue to monitor a “strong” tropical wave approaching the island chain.

Director of the Department of Emergency Management (DEM), Kerry Hinds, today urged residents to pay close attention to weather advisories from the Barbados Meteorological Services (BMS) and to take the necessary precautions.

Earlier today, the BMS issued its second weather statement on a “strong tropical wave located 500 miles east of Barbados”, which was showing increased areas of disorganised showers and thunderstorms.

The system is expected to bring occasional showers and the possibility of isolated thunderstorms from this afternoon, with between one and three inches of rain expected.

Ms. Hinds reminded residents of last Thursday’s severe weather event that damaged homes, resulted in fallen trees, and disrupted the electrical and water supply across the island.

“That event underscored the importance of being prepared at all times to reduce the vulnerability to hydrometeorological events,” she stated.

By now, the Director said, persons should have started their preparations for the hurricane season, which include stocking up on canned items and bottled water; having a first aid kit and a go-bag in case they need to leave their home in an emergency; securing all important documents in a waterproof container and having an adequate supply of emergency lights.

In addition, she said, persons should seek to reinforce their windows and doors; secure all loose objects from their patios and around their homes and trim trees to avoid having overhanging branches.

More importantly, she stressed, persons need to ensure they have adequate insurance coverage for their homes and businesses.

Ms. Hinds called on residents to look out for the vulnerable persons within their communities, including the elderly and the disabled, and to join together to clean up neighbourhoods to mitigate the possibility of flooding and other dangers.

She also encouraged persons to make a mental note of where their hurricane shelter is located by visiting the DEM’s website or the Barbados Government Information Service’s website.

The Director further encouraged persons to download the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) app on their Android and Apple devices.

Alternatively, they may download the BMS’ app – BMS Insight – to receive updates on systems likely to affect the island.  This app is only available for Android devices at this time.

Furthermore, residents are advised to call the Royal Barbados Police Force at 211; the Barbados Fire Service at 311 and the Barbados Ambulance Service at 511, in the event of an emergency. In the event of damage sustained following an event, persons should contact the DEM at 438-7575.

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