by Vejay Steede
Knowing how to get help can literally be the difference between life and death during a hurricane. By now, most Bermudians are well versed on how to prepare for a seasonal storm: board up windows, store water, stock up on candles and batteries, invest in a generator, and so on, and so forth.
There’s still room for further assistance, however, and that’s where Bermuda’s emergency resources come into play. Even the most capable survivalist among us needs to know who to call when things get too heavy to handle.
It’s always a good idea to learn skills that could make the difference during times of high stress, and both the Bermuda Red Cross and St. John’s Ambulance offer quality CPR and First Aid training quite regularly.
While suggesting that every person on the island should get CPR and First Aid training and certification is probably excessive, it would be a good idea to have at least one person in each household trained with these potentially life-saving skills.
Have a house meeting sometime before hurricane season starts. Look at preparation seriously and decide who will go and get trained in CPR, who will get First Aid training or who will be the absolute house hero and do both.
Go to: http://bermudaredcross.com/getting-involved/ training/ to get more information on class schedules and space availability at Red Cross Bermuda. You can also visit http://sjabermuda.org/ first-aid-training/ to sign up for courses in Adult Only CPR, Adult, Child + Infant CPR, BLS Basic Life Support (HCP), Emergency First Aid, or Pet First Aid (coming soon!) with St. John’s Ambulance.
Communication is another vital component of getting through a hurricane, which means that tuning in to the Emergency Broadcast Station at FM 100.1 MHz, is imperative. Again, this can be a house duty—a responsibility that one household member takes on so that everyone stays informed. The Emergency Measures Organization will keep the public updated with news and storm-related developments through FM 100.1, so monitoring the station is a very important chore, indeed. This is a major source of crucial information during any national disaster.
Of course, the most important telephone number to know during any emergency situation is 911. First responders will assess the risks involved in venturing out during a hurricane, and then do everything in their power to assist any citizen in distress.
Other important numbers to know before, during and after a hurricane are:
Emergency Measures Organization: 295-0011
Bermuda Police Service: 295-0011
Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service: 292-5555
Bermuda Maritime Operations Centre: 297-1010
King Edward VII Memorial Hospital : 236-2345
Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre: 298-7700
Bermuda Red Cross: 236-8253
For structural damage, electrical outages or property-related emergencies, keep these numbers close at hand:
BELCO: 955 or 295-5111
Bermuda Telephone Company (BTC): 611 or 295-1001
Bermuda Gas Company: 295-3111
Bermuda Public Works Department: 295-5151
Stranded visitors to the island can contact the Bermuda Tourism Authority on 296- 9200 or the Bermuda Hotel Association on 295-2127 for assistance or for information about their policies and the services they offer. Visitors from the United States can also contact US Citizen emergency assistance at 335-3828 while Canadian vacationers and expat workers can call the Canadian Consulate at 535-0144 for help if needed.
Lastly, staying emotionally secure is a generally good idea during a hurricane, so knowing numbers like Crime Stoppers 800-8477 (TIPS) and the Centre Against Abuse: 297-8278 can provide a certain peace of mind.
Animal lovers will also want to know the number for the Bermuda SPCA: 236-7333. Knowing our furry friends are safe can be comforting as well.