Hurricane Preparedness in Barbados

Hurricane season in Barbados and the Caribbean officially begins on June 1st and ends at the end of October. Although Barbados has generally been spared the severe weather associated with storms that other islands have faced, it is still essential that for these 5 months, locals and visitors are prepared for any hurricane that may strike. Below are some useful tips that you should take into consideration in order to maintain your hurricane preparedness.

Key Terms

Hurricane Watch – issued when there is a possibility/threat of hurricane-like conditions within 24-36 hours.

Hurricane Warning – issue when hurricane conditions are expected in 24 hours or less. These conditions include high winds (74 miles per hour or greater), high swells and rough seas.

Category 1 Shelter – Shelters that can be used during a hurricane or any other disaster or emergency event.

Category 2 Shelter –  shelters that can be used after a hurricane, disaster or emergency event (given they are in reasonable condition)

Before the Hurricane – Tips

Being preparation early – it is the habit of most Barbadians to wait until a storm or hurricane warning is announced to hit the supermarket to stock up on necessities. However, disaster preparedness should begin from the beginning of the year. Have large trees around your properties cut, keep drains clear and make sure the roof is stable (not termite infested).

Store water – this is to ensure that your household has a safe and adequate water supply during and after a hurricane. Enough drinking water (at least a 3-day supply) should be stored in clean, non-corrosive tightly covered containers for each family member and pet. These containers should then be stored in a cool, dark location. Water should also be collected in bathtubs and other containers for non-drinking uses (e.g flushing the toilet, washing hands etc.).

Store important documents – ideally in waterproof containers. This is to ensure that in the event of a serious hurricane, you can still access key documents such as insurance policies, bank account information, other financial records etc. While compiling these important documents, make sure insurance policies are up to date.

Visit the ATM – just prior to an impending hurricane, you should be sure to withdraw some money to make “after the hurricane” purchases. Debt and credit card machines may not work immediately after a hurricane as a result of electricity outages, so this tip is very important.

Know Your Shelters – if you live in an area where you may be forced to seek a shelter, ensure you know which ones are in your neighbourhood. This information is very important beforehand. As you become aware of where you will need to go if necessary, pack a bag of key necessities you will need while at the shelter, to make evacuation swift and easy.

Develop an Emergency Communication Plan – this is to ensure that each family member knows their role and what they each need to do in the event of a hurricane. These tasks include turning off utilities, the radio stations that need to be tuned into for updates, and knowledge of the key emergency numbers. Additionally, designate the roles for grabbing the first aid kit, the food, water, important documents etc. in case a hasty evacuation is needed.

Remove any outdoor objects -  All (loose) outdoor objects should be removed from outside in the event of a hurricane warning or watch. These include lawn furniture, toys, garden tools, antennas and satellite dishes.

N.B.: DO NOT stock up the fridge with lots of perishable foods, but rather stock up on a 4-5 day supply of food that does not need refrigeration or cooking.

Additional information for Visitors – It is important that you are aware of your hotel/accommodations’ provisions during a hurricane. Find out what are there evacuation protocols, emergency meeting points and other pertinent information.

During the Hurricane – Tips

Do not venture outside until an all clear is given – this is a common mistake, as a lull in storm or hurricane does not mean that you cannot be harmed by flying debris. During the passing of the eye of the storm, there is a calmness but sudden high winds can occur. Therefore, stay indoors until an all clear is given.

Continue to listen to the radio and television for updates – it is essential that you use these and all means necessary to keep up to date with any storm or hurricane currently affecting the island.

Evacuating – if you have to evacuate, store valuables and other personal items in a waterproof container at the highest level of your home, in case there is flooding.

Protect your appliances – in the event of loss of power, turn all major appliances off. This is to reduce power surges when electricity is restored.

Additional Information for visitors – keep up to date not only with the hurricane, but with your hotel’s bulletins as well. This is important in the event there needs to be an emergency evacuation.

After the Hurricane – Tips

Avoid areas impacted by the storm – there may be loose debris, excess water, downed power lines and damaged areas depending on the severity of the hurricane. Avoid these areas. Even after the storm has passed, it is still essential you practice safety and take caution.

Continue to listen to the radio – this will keep you updated about impassable roads and places to avoid as a result of excess damage.

Inspect – when it is safe, inspect your home for any damaged areas that may need (urgent) attention.

The Disaster Supply Kit

Every household should have a disaster supply kit. It contains a supply of items that should be stocked up on and replenished as necessary, specifically at the beginning of the hurricane season. The following are some of the most important items to be included in a disaster supply kit.

  1. Two-weeks supply of prescription medicines.
  2. Two-weeks supply of non-perishable/special dietary foods.
  3. Drinking water in containers: 1 gal per person/per day for two weeks.
  4. Water purification kit (tablets, bleach, chlorine (plain) and iodine).
  5. Flashlights and batteries for each member of the family.
  6. Portable radio and (7 sets) batteries.
  7. First Aid book and kit including bandages, antiseptic, tape, compresses, non-aspirin pain reliever, anti-diarrhoea medication.
  8. Two coolers (one to keep food and one for ice).
  9. Plastic tarp for roof/window repair, screening, tools, nails, etc.
  10. Infant necessities (medicine, sterile water, diapers, ready formula, bottles).
  11. Clean-up supplies (mop, buckets, towels, disinfectant).
  12. Non-electric can opener
  13. Plastic trash bags.
  14. Toilet paper, paper towels, hand sanitizer and pre-moisturized towelettes.
  15. Fire extinguisher.
  16. Complete set of clothes, shoes, gloves, rain gear etc.
  17. Personal sanitary items.
  18. Important documents (stored in water-tight plastic bags or plastic containers).

List of Necessities during a Hurricane

This is essentially your survival kit during the hurricane and should consist of the following items:

  1. Canned food – at least a 3-day supply of these and other non-perishable items that do not need to be refrigerated.
  2. Can Opener – to open the canned foods.
  3. First Aid Kit – inclusive of bandages, gauze rolls and pads, cotton balls, scissors, antibiotic ointment, pain medication.
  4. Flashlight and accompanying batteries – in case of power outages.
  5. Gas – for those who own cars. Fill the tank in case of a serious hurricane and also, if necessary, keep an extra container.
  6. Matches – to light a candle or stove.
  7. Medicine – important medication should be well stored in case of a disaster. Always ensure you have a sufficient supply of any medication you take, as well as contact lenses, and glasses, if necessary, close to hand. Baby supplies are also important (if you have a baby), as well as vitamins for the whole family.
  8. Radio – to keep up to date with news about the hurricane.
  9. Sanitary supplies – for example toilet paper, paper towels, sanitary napkins etc.
  10. Water – for drinking and non-drinking usage.
  11. Sleeping bags/pillows – especially if you need to evacuate your home and stay at a shelter.
  12. Clothes – see #11 above
  13. Bleach and other detergents – for disinfecting, sanitizing and cleaning items.

Barbados Emergency Numbers

  • Police – 211/430-7100
  • Fire – 311/535-7824
  • Ambulance – 511
  • Directory Assistance – 411
  • The Operator – 0
  • Queen Elizabeth Hospital – 436-6450

Hurricane Shelters in Barbados

The above tips mentioned about utilizing hurricane shelters in case you need to evacuate your residence. Here is an exhaustive list of all the Hurricane Shelters in Barbados, listed by parish:

Category 1 Shelters

Category 1 Shelters

Christ Church

Public School Shelters

Blackman and Gollop Primary*

Christ Church Foundation

Gordon Walters Primary

St. Christopher Primary

St. Philip

Public School Shelters

Hilda Skeene Primary

Privately Owned Business Shelters

Six Roads Church of Christ

Six Roads Seventh Day Adventist

St. James

Public School Shelters

Gordon Greenidge Primary*

Queens College

St. Michael

Public School Shelters

Combermere School

Ellerslie Secondary School

George Lamming Primary

Privately Owned Business Shelters

Black Rock Seventh Day Adventist

Dalkeith Methodist Church*

St. Peter

Public School Shelters

Coleridge and Parry School*

Roland Edwards Primary*

St Thomas

Public School Shelters

Lester Vaughan School

Hillaby/Turners Hall

St. George

Public School Shelters

Cuthbert Moore Primary*

St. Lucy

Privately Owned Business Shelters

Connell Pentecostal House of Prayer

Privately Owned Business Shelters

St. Lucy Parish Church


Category 2 Shelters

Category 2 Shelters

Christ Church

Public School Shelters

Milton Lynch Primary

St. Bartholomew Primary

Privately Owned Business Shelters

Christ Church Parish Church

Salvation Army Church (Wotton)

St. Christopher Church

St. Matthias Church*

Cane Vale Seventh Day Adventist Church

Hawthorne Methodist Church

St. Philip

Public School Shelters

Princess Margaret Secondary

St. Catherine’s Primary

Bayley’s Primary

Reynold Weekes Primary

Privately Owned Business Shelters

Four Square Nazarene Church

Gemswick Nazarene Church

Ruby Nazarene Church

St. Catherine’s Church

St. Michael

Public School Shelters

Barbados Community College

St. Paul’s Primary

Grantley Prescod Memorial

Harrison College

Hindsbury Primary

Lawrence T. Gay Memorial

St. Ambrose Primary

Luther Thorne Memorial

The University of the West Indies*

The St. Michael School

St. Leonard’s Boys’ School*

Westbury Primary

Privately Owned Business Shelters

Chapman Street Church of God

Government Hill Seventh Day Adventist

St. Barnabas Day Care Centre

St. Matthew’s Church

St. Peter

Public School Shelters

Alexandra School*

All Saints Primary

Privately Owned Business Shelters

St. Philip-the-Less Church

St. Thomas

Public School Shelters

Sharon Primary

St. George

Public School Shelters

St. George Primary

Ellerton Primary

Privately Owned Business Shelters

St. George Parish Church

St. Lucy

Public School Shelters

Daryll Jordan Secondary*

Selah Primary

St. James

Public School Shelters

West Terrace Primary*

Good Shepherd Primary

St. Silas Primary

St. Andrew

Public School Shelters

A. Dacosta Edwards Primary

St. John

Public School Shelters

St. Margaret’s Primary

The Lodge School

St. Joseph

Public School Shelters

Grantley Adams Memorial

St. Bernard Primary*

St. Joseph Primary


*Shelters that cater to the physically challenged.

For more information on these shelters, contact the Department of Emergency Management (DEM) at 438-7575.

It is important to note that you should not attempt to seek out a shelter unless it has been stated that it is opened. Pets, weapons, alcoholic beverages and narcotics are not allowed at shelters. Smoking (of any kind) is also prohibited. Many of basic items listed in the disaster supply kit should be brought to the shelter, as well as books and toys if you have children with you.

Get hurricane prepared with these tips today.