View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Humour While Getting Ready for Cyclone Gonu

Have a read of this emergency check list before you discover how one Aussie teacher in Fujairah fared with Cyclone Gonu.

Higher College of Technology (HCT) staff member, Mike Cullinan, sent this helpful email to staff members of the two HCT Colleges in Fujairah about ways they could prepare their villas and apartments against Cyclone Gonu:

* In anticipation of a temporary loss of power, stock up with three days of basic staples such as bottled water, ice, flashlights with extra batteries and bulbs, candles/matches, portable radio, non-perishable food and containers, non-electric can opener extra baby/infant needs/diapers, essential medicines.

* Maintain mobile phones on full charge and ensure that you have a copy of the staff telephone list.

* Make sure vehicles have a full tank of petrol and park away from large trees. In the event of flooding do not drive through water unless your journey is absolutely necessary. Water on roadways can be deeper than it looks and could cause your vehicle to stall. Do not attempt to drive through water if you are unsure of its depth, especially if it is flowing rapidly, such as at a flooded culvert/wadi approach--as little as 12 in/30 cm of running water can wash away most vehicles.

* Cash machines may be down for a while so make sure you have cash.

* Fill extra containers with water for washing/toilets. Filling the bathtub with water before the storm hits is an old trick to ensure a water supply.

* In the event of high winds, draw blinds/curtains. Stay away from windows and doors. If the wind does not break through the glass, flying debris just might. The best place to stay in your home is inside an interior room or closet with as many walls put between you and the storm.

* Turn refrigerator and freezer to coldest settings. Open only when absolutely necessary and close quickly

* Make sure that family members know how to respond during an emergency. Show them how and when to turn off gas, electricity and water

* If you are in a villa, bring in pets, hanging plants, gas grills, lawn furniture and any other items that may become airborne during high winds. Trim back dead branches from trees. Be prepared to move to higher ground or a higher floor in the event of flooding.

* Once the storm is gone, continue to exercise caution in moving about. Hazards such as downed power lines, rising water, and unstable trees or buildings may remain.

Hopefully none of this will be necessary but it never hurts to be prepared!

Christine Baldwin is a teacher at the HCT Women’s College in Fujairah. She comes from Australia and has spent some time teaching in Oman. This morning she wrote to Mike with this email:

Dear Mike,

I filled the bathtub with water and I hopped in my closet with my candles and mobile phone. When I lit the candles my clothes set alight, but luckily I had my bottle of water to put it out.

Then I had to get out of the closet cos there was too much smoke, and I jumped in, the now cold bathtub. I now have a cold.

I opened a window to let out the smoke and a very frightened pigeon flew in. The effects of his recent meal at the Taj Mahal Indian restaurant were deposited on my bedspread.

Exasperated, I went to get a diet pepsi out of the fridge, but it was frozen cos I had turned the fridge up.

Decided to get a takeaway, but my mobile phone and cash were submerged on that fateful bedspread……

Thanks for the storm advice


Image: Emergency list but Mike’s list is far superior and should be bookmarked.