Consult official sources for weather news

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A woman uses an umbrella to shelter from the rain while others take cover near stores in Scarborough recently. – Photo by David Reid

THE Tobago Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) has advised citizens to consult official sources when seeking information on the weather during the rainy season.

TEMA’s public information, education and training supervisor, Melissa Yearwood-Jack, said the agency has observed that people are getting a lot of fake weather information from WhatsApp.

She advised Tobagonians to check out the social media pages and websites of the TT Meteorological Office, TEMA and Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management.

“Those are the three main sources of news for weather. So I just want to remind persons of that,” Yearwood-Jack said.

Last week, the Met Office officially declared the start of the rainy season, saying it is expected to be a volatile and erratic one.

It also recommended that disaster preparedness agencies and emergency response units use the first three months of the season to prepare.

On Friday, THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine will tour a public education caravan at the Port Mall, Scarborough, to commemorate National Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Month (NDPPM).

He is expected to be accompanied by ODPM chief executive officer Major General (retired) Rodney Smart and TEMA contingency planning officer Melaura Agbeko. The display will be open to the public from 10 am to 4.30 pm.

In preparing for the wet season, Yearwood-Jack advised Tobagonians to stock up on basic emergency kits, water, non-perishable food items, battery-powered radios, candles, flashlights.

“These things supposed to last at least three days if there is an emergency but I would say people should be prepared for at least a week.” Catering to one’s specific needs is a must, she said.

“Don’t assume that you will be catered for in an emergency. Most of the times the government agencies go for the basics, not your unique needs. So you will have to have that covered.”

Yearwood-Jack also advised people to secure all of their important documents in a ziploc bag or upload them unto a flash drive.

“Just make sure and secure all important documents in a plastic bag, Ziploc bag, scan them and upload them on a flash drive.

“Just make sure you have those things stored in the correct way and take pictures of your valuables.”

With respect to homes, Yearwood-Jack said people must ensure their drains, gutters and spouts are unclogged to prevent the accumulation of debris and allow for a free flow of water.

Tobagonians, she added, must also reinforce their homes.

“A lot of time in Tobago a little breeze will knock off a roof. So people must ensure their homes are secured.”

Yearwood-Jack also advised families to come up with a communications plan to ensure they know where members are at all times.

She said special care must also be taken with pets and elderly family members, who may be incapacitated.

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