Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams, Chairman of the island’s Disaster Emergency Management Organization, is reminding the Sint Maarten community to be prepared for the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season which opened barely two weeks ago.
The Prime Minister’s call comes on the heels of Hurricane Adrian that formed in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Mexico last week.
Adrian, the first hurricane in the Pacific Ocean for this hurricane season, became a category four hurricane with wind speeds of 140 miles per hour. Thankfully, the system did not pose any threat to land as it remained in open waters.
"This demonstrates that even the first storm of the season can be a major hurricane. I can’t stress enough how important it is to be prepared. Remember, it only takes one," Prime Minister Wescot-Williams said on Sunday.
Wescot-Williams, is also calling on the business community to have in place a business continuity management and disaster planning plans as well. Such plans outline what measures need to be taken prior to a hurricane strike to be able to pick back up as soon as the "all clear" signal has been given.
With the state of preparedness in mind, the nation’s prime minister held the 2011 Emergency Operations Center (EOC) kick-off meeting on June 1st allowing all Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) to give a state of affairs regarding their areas of responsibility.
Follow-up meetings will be held to assess the ESF’s continued execution of their disaster management plan.
All businesses and in particular those supplying vital services also need to have a recovery strategy in place. Once the "all clear" has been given, the nation’s economy should be able to bounce back quickly.
The names for potential storm systems for the 2011 Atlantic Hurricane season are: Arlene, Bret, Cindy, Don, Emily, Franklin, Gert, Harvey, Irene, Jose, Katia, Lee, Maria, Nate, Ophelia, Philippe, Rina, Sean, Tammy, Vince and Whitney.
The 2011 hurricane season officially runs through November 30.