Decide ahead of time where you will stay during a hurricane. If your home is durable to withstand the winds, then it is probably the best place to stay. Since the option of evacuating the islands in the event of a storm is not readily available, we highly recommend that you research the available options on-Island.
If you decide that it is safe to stay in your home, ask your neighbours about the vulnerability of your neighbourhood in the case of flooding and wave threats. Also find the safest areas in your house to shelter and potential escape routes.
If you do not think your house is a suitable place to stay during a storm, take shelter in a safe and sturdy home/building. This can be at a friend's, your workplace (if available), or one of the many public shelters on-Island.
Usually, the hurricane shelters can accommodate eight-percent of Cayman's population, however due to COVID-19, social-distancing protocols limit the number of people who can gather inside shelters. Premier Alden McLaughlin has urged residents to consider looking at other sheltering options in the event of a storm hitting the island.
Below is a list of possible hurricane shelters for 2020. The Cayman Islands Government is actively seeking additional shelter capacity and will provide an updated list of approved shelters in a few weeks.
- Sir John A. Cumber Primary School (Part Classrooms)
- Sir John a. Cumber Primary School Assembly Hall (*EMC)
- John Gray Memorial Church Hall
- John Gray High School Gymnasium (pet-friendly: 30 dogs or 60 cats)
- George Town Primary School Assembly Hall
- University College of the Cayman Islands Hall
- Red Cross Building
- Prospect Primary School (*EMC)
- Bodden Town Primary School Multipurpose Hall (*EMC)
- Breakers Community Hall
- Savannah Primary School Assembly Hall (*EMC)
- Craddock Ebanks Civic Centre (*EMC)
- Clifton Hunter High School Gymnasium (*EMC) (pet-friendly: 15 dogs or 25 cats)
- William Allen McLaughlin Civic Centre (*EMC)
- Gun Bay Community Hall
- Aston Rutty Centre (*EMC)
- West End Primary School
- Day care Centre Multipurpose Hall (sports complex)
- Public Works Department Building (*EMC)
Currently there are only two pet-friendly shelters on Grand Cayman and nine Emergency Medical Centres (EMC) across the Cayman Islands.
Shelters should be considered as a last resort – they are crowded and the conditions are very basic, with none of the comforts of home. You should make sure you take a shelter kit with enough supplies for a number of days.
They ask that you wear your mask and bring enough supplies for your family and they generally do not allow pets, alcohol, smoking, heavy or excess luggage, cots or weapons. Masks and personal protective equipment will be provided for everyone at the shelters.
Volunteer Shelter Managers are always needed. If you are interested in becoming one or for more information, contact Tina Ebanks or Melissa Hall at the Department of Children and Family Services or call (345) 949 0290.
*EMC= Emergency Medical Centre
Note: COVID-19-positive patients will be housed in separate shelter locations. Shelters will also be equipped with enough PPE (personal protective equipment) for anyone entering a shelter for a hurricane.