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5 Important Points for Hurricane Season

BVI Home Sense July 2016 (2)

Most days in the Virgin Islands are sunny with glorious blue skies; however, from June to November, and peaking in mid-September, there is an increased possibility of tropical storms and hurricanes. Preparation is key and although you should have started already, here are our five important points for making certain you are organised for hurricane season.

  • Building Security

Many of the buildings in the BVI are built with reinforced concrete but they can still be vulnerable when facing 100+ mile an hour gusts and torrential rains. The following will help:

  • Have metal or plywood protective covers made for your windows and doors. Have a supply of screws and the tools needed to install them
  • If you have a covered balcony or porch, the overhang may be damaged by a sudden uplift. Security can be provided by wiring to a secure timber support or wall
  • Remove the blades from exterior ceiling fans
  • Make sure your gutters are clear so they can collect and drain as much water as possible and check that the cistern overflow pipes are clear so excess can drain away

BVI Home Sense July 2016 (8)

  • Pools, Decks, and Gardens   

Sadly, it’s not generally possible to insure landscaping. Replanting will take time and can be costly so our advice is:

  • Keep large trees healthy and trimmed to limit damage from falling branches
  • Move potted plants indoors or store under decking
  • Move outdoor and pool furniture, barbecues, surfboards, bikes etc. so that they’re not blown over/around. Some individuals store items in the pool itself but be mindful that the chemicals will have an impact on fabrics/wooden finishes
  • Turn the pool pump off and if you have a cover for the pool secure it in place
  • Power Supply

It’s highly likely that the main power supply will be turned off during a hurricane to limit the damage from fallen power lines. Repairs may also take time – you could be without power for 4-5 days.

  • If your property has a generator, have it serviced and tested now and stock up on generator fuel
  • If you’re without a generator, clear out your fridge so you don’t have decaying food during the outage
  • Your water pump will be affected by a power failure. Check that you can access your cistern directly. If the cistern cover is outside, you may not be able to get to it so fill up the bath and as many containers as you have
  • Purchase and charge up mobile power packs for your phone and tablets – this way you can stay in touch with the outside world during a black out
  • Insurance
  • Make sure you’re covered
  • Once a storm has been officially named, you can no longer secure coverage so have year round insurance in place
  • Make sure that your policy is in order as to current value and contents
  • Be Ready
  • Keep an eye out on the weather reports so you’re informed as early as possible
  • Identify who you need to help you prepare and check their availability
  • Have enough provisions in your store cupboard (drinking water and tinned foods as well as chocolate and wine!)
  • Have batteries, torches, candles etc. as well as brooms, mops, and garbage bags in readiness of the clean-up

If you have doubts about how well your property will fare or if you are anxious about being at home alone, then make plans to be elsewhere. The most important thing is to keep yourself and your loved ones safe and together. Batten down the hatches and know that it will not be long before the sun shines once more!

Photography by Don Hebert and Stefan Radtke

Lucienne Smith

Lucienne Smith

Lucienne grew up in the BVI and worked for a number of years as a director for a FTSE 250 company in London. She now heads up the Residential Property Management and Long Term Rental divisions of Smiths Gore.

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