St. Maarten Government designates 11 public shelters for hurricane season

POSTED: 06/8/12 12:51 PM

St. Maarten – Disaster Coordinator/Fire Chief Winston Salomon says there are 11 public shelters available for the hurricane season. A number of buildings are chosen and equipped (prior to a definite hurricane strike) to serve as public shelters. These buildings are chosen based on the buildings’ ability to withstand hurricane conditions and their height above sea level.
Space in shelters is limited and is meant for people who feel that their home is unsafe and can’t find another safe place to stay.
If your home is hurricane proof and is in a safe location, it is probably best to stay there during a storm. Alternative options are to stay with family or friends whose house is also hurricane proof. People who are unsure should do not hesitate to go to a public shelter.

Shelters are meant for temporary stay of up to 72 hours. People utilizing a public shelter must realize that many people have to share a small space and therefore must be prepared for some amount of discomfort. There is a management team in charge of the shelter once it is opened. Safety is a main concern, and people will have to follow shelter warden instructions.
People are also advised to assess their house now and use the services of an architect, if they can. A proper assessment will determine whether a person will need to stay with friends or family or make use of a public shelter.

The U.S. National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the parent body of the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami, Florida, has forecasted a near-normal 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. The forecasts calls for nine to 15 named storms, of which four to eight can strengthen to become hurricanes, and of that one to three can become major hurricanes.
It only takes one hurricane strike to make this a bad season, and therefore the Office of Disaster Management is urging the community to be prepared as it is your responsibility to do so every season.

The remaining names of potential storms for the 2012 season are: Chris, Debby, Ernesto, Florence, Gordon, Helene, Isaac, Joyce, Kirk, Leslie, Michael, Nadine, Oscar, Patty, Rafael, Sandy, Tony, Valerie and William.
The 2012 hurricane season officially runs through November 30.

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