Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 30th 2015 Contents A23
Saturday, May 30, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Better be ready
Are you ready for ahurricane?
HURRICANE SAFETY TIPS
Source: The T&T Red Cross Society
Before a hurricane:
The hurricane season lasts from June through
November, with August and September being
the peak months.
Know the location of the nearest emergency
shelter in your area.
Trim the trees in your yard, especially those
near your home, so limbs won't fly around
during a storm.
If you have hurricane shutters, inspect them
now and repair damaged ones. Know how to
install them, and if you will be boarding up
your windows, have the wood and tools ready.
Know the location of the main electrical
breaker and the gas and water valves in your
home. Have a clear path to easily access them
to shut them off when a hurricane approach-
Make a list of the items in and around your
yard to bring in or tie down when a tropical
storm or hurricane approaches. For example:
TV antenna, plants, garbage cans and yard fur-
Check your insurance policy for coverage on
wind and flood damage, especially if you''re in
a low-lying area.
Keep a portable radio, flashlight (both with
extra batteries), emergency supplies, first aid
kit, canned food and bottled water on hand
throughout the hurricane season.
Keep yourself updated as to the weather con-
ditions and the possibilities of severe weather.
Have your emergency numbers at hand and in
a convenient location.
Designate an interior room with no windows
or external doors as a "Safe Room." Work
with your local professionals in the design of
Discuss the types of potential hazards with
your family and know your community's and
Determine escape routes and places to meet if
Have an out-of-the-area-friend as a family
contact so all have a single point of contact
and someone knows where you are.
Make a plan for your pets if you need to evac-
Take First Aid and CPR classes. Your Red Cross
can help you.
Stay away from windows and stay inside if you
are not told to evacuate.
Beware that the centre of a hurricane, or the
eye, can be very calm and deceptive. When
the eye passes, the storm is not over. Stay
inside because the fury of the winds will
return, this time from the opposite direction.
Remain in your safe location until the storm
has passed completely and the all clear has
During a hurricane:
A HURRICANE WATCH is given when the hurri-
cane is possible within 36 hours.
When a hurricane watch is issued, you should
monitor news reports closely for more infor-
Continue your preparation activities and be
prepared to evacuate immediately when
instructed to do so.
When a hurricane is 24 hours away, a HURRI-
CANE WARNING is issued. Hurricane landfall is
When a hurricane warning is issued, you
should board up your windows and doors,
bring in loose items from outside, shut off
electrical, gas and water hook-ups and seek
Contact the Red Cross: Headquarters - 627-8215/8128, Northern branch - 627-8214, Southern branch - 652-2024, Tobago branch - 639-2781
As we brace for the unpredictability
of the hurricane season, it is impor-
tant to be prepared. Here are some
simple steps to help protect your
family from a storm or hurricane.
T&T Red Cross Society
Crumbling facades, rusting
corrugated iron sheets
draped in unruly vines, a mal-
odorous pall everywhere; does
any of this spring to mind
when you think of some of our
Curepe, Tunupuna, Penal,
Princes Town, Siparia; hideous
buildings strangle narrow thor-
oughfares scarcely capable of
coping with modest traffic.
This hellish aesthetic domi-
nates many of our towns,
smaller hubs of life all but
abandoned to more centralised
As this manifesto series con-
tinues, I thought it useful to
share a vision for our towns,
something we should expect
from political parties courting
The decline of small towns
confronts many countries, we
are no exception.
A striking example of a com-
munity teetering on the edge of
extinction is La Brea.
Rich in history and natural
resources, swathes of La Brea
are typified by decrepit, aban-
doned houses or grocery stores,
some buckled by the dynamic
earth beneath them.
Owed to a paucity, in many
instances, of economic opportu-
nities, entire blocks of this
South Western community have
died off, like extremities lost to
diabetes. The economic malaise
of La Brea is evident in many
other towns. For several of
them, economic activity relies
on residents limited purchasing
The basic bank branch, ubiq-
uitous Chinese restaurants, and
the bric-a-brac store; they all
exist to mop up the meagre
income of people who live in
With an inherently weak eco-
nomic foundation, these towns
are susceptible to financial
shocks and therefore, extinc-
There are also the dormitory
communities, villages with no
real life to speak of, just places
where people rest their heads
until they have to rise at 3.30
am to head to work in Port-of-
Spain or other bustling centres.
It makes sense to reboot
these communities for several
reasons. Sustainable economic
opportunities in our towns
would dramatically reduce traf-
fic, increase productivity and
free up time better spent as a
family rather than as frazzled
motorists and passengers.
But how do we reverse the
decline? Too often, the indus-
trial complex is peddled as the
cure-all for decay in our rural
districts. If you don t have a
monstrous energy-based plant
or sprawling industrial estate,
you not doing the ting right.
Instead of a one-size-fits-all
approach, thinking caps are
needed to take on this problem.
Revitalisation must be tackled
on two fronts: improved aes-
thetics and building economic
I struggle to think of any
town in this country that I am
not desperate to escape, and
that is unfortunate. In other
countries determined to salvage
their towns, grappling with aes-
thetics is crucial.
In the US there is a façade
improvement programme to
motivate business owners to
improve the appearance of their
buildings and storefronts.
Incentives such as tax breaks,
design assistance and loans are
dangled in front of property
owners to get them on board.
This is not to suggest a copy-
and-paste approach. What
works on Main Street, USA,
may not work in Sangre
Grande. Different techniques
applied elsewhere can be used
to influence our own strategies.
Perhaps regional corporations
can partner with larger business
interests such as banks or ener-
gy companies with resident
operations to finance a rejuve-
nation drive. After all, it would
be in their best interests.
An alluring town centre can
inspire confidence in investors
to put down roots. In places
where there are residual ele-
ments of colonial architecture,
these can be restored to add
character and appeal. An aban-
doned post office, for example,
can be refurbished and repur-
posed as an internet café in
communities where Internet
service is limited. This would
help to avoid the transference
from our major cities of con-
temporary glass and concrete
architecture which doesn t
reflect Caribbean sensibilities.
Outdoor ice cream parlours or
small community cinemas could
replace seedy betting pools or
rumshops, germinating a town
centre where residents would
happily spend both their time
and money. Of course, residents
need to have folding money in
the first place.
Development of economic
opportunities should mirror the
unique nature of our towns. In
Moruga, identified as the birth
place of the hottest pepper of
the world, an agro processing
industry can be built up around
the incendiary chili. A properly
funded cooperative can process
peppers into hot sauces, maybe
a signature Trinidad Moruga
Scorpion pepper barbeque
sauce, or even mace to season
criminals. Farmers can earn
more, participating in the cre-
ation of end products for their
The story of the Trinidad
Moruga Scorpion pepper can be
used to build a global brand,
taking advantage of the publici-
ty generated by idiots eating
them on YouTube.
Revitalisation of our towns
will require government and
private sector collaboration.
Funding will be tough to attract
if local government bodies can t
alleviate traffic congestion, sort
out parking and sustain proper
waste disposal and collection.
Regional corporations can
handily fund themselves
through parking fees and rigid
enforcement of parking and lit-
The rescue of our towns is
critical to creating a sustainable
economy and fanning the entre-
preneurial flame so desperately
needed for a nation that should
be in oil rehab. This is the sort
of progressive thinking we
should all be demanding of our
MANIFESTO SERIES: REVIVING OUR DECAYING TOWNS
should mirror the
unique nature of
our towns. In
identified as the
birth place of the
of the world, an
industry can be
built up around
chili. A properly
into hot sauces,
or even mace to
Farmers can earn
the creation of
end products for
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