In the aftermath of Tropical Erika and the trial of devastation, deaths and despair it left on our island home, there is and should be a heightened sense for the need for effective and workable emergency preparedness plans on the personal , family , business and state levels. Each family and business entity should strongly consider drawing up, practicing and rehearsing a simple plan to help them survive a natural or man-made disaster or emergency. A simple emergency preparation, mitigation (and may be) rescue plan is easy and can help save lives. Because Dominica in located in a hurricane alley and with global warning leading to more frequent, unpredictable and deadlier storms and weather patterns today ,it is just a matter of time before an angry hurricane comes barreling down on Dominica with little notice.

The simple guide to ten essential items to help a family or business in the event of an emergency should include the following:

1.Bottled water: One gallon per person per day for drinking and sanitation. The water should be changed to a fresh supply every six months.

  1. Food: A supply of 3-5 days of food per person. Ready to eat canned meat, fruit and vegetables, boxed juices, powdered milk and crackers.

3: Clothes: Collect at least one change of clothes and footwear per family member; consider packing blankets, rain and outer wear for the weather.

4: Medications: Collect three (3) days' worth of any prescription medicines.

5: Flashlight: Keep a bright flashlight in case there is no electricity. Consider getting a lantern–style light for hands-free use. Avoid using candles becuse they can be a fire hazard.

6: Can Opener: make sure it is manual and also consider buying items with a pull-top opening so that you will not need a can opener at all if you cannot find it.

7: Radio: A battery –powered radio for listening to news and weather. Don't forget extra batteries and buy them in advance in case there are in short supplies. If you can, consider purchasing a crank –operated or solar-powered radio.

8: Hygiene items: Just the basics like soap, toilet paper and toothbrush;

9: First Aid: Basic items such as antiseptic, gloves, bandages and non- prescription medicines. Remember, you can buy a pre-made kit at most pharmacies.

10: Cell phone. Always try to keep your phones fully charged at all times so that you can summon help if it comes to that. But also remember you may not be able to transmit any calls or text messages depending on the nature of the emergency or catastrophe.

Families, businesses and local communities such as village councils should develop mitigation plans today for dealing with any emergency recurrences. The most promising way to deal with a possible recurrence is, 'preparedness 'and now is the time to 'prepare.' Each family and business should develop a plan, be informed and get involved. History always repeats itself so, it is critical that families create a plan to shelter-in place and practice the plan for It may prove to be the difference between surviving and perishing.