As you know Trinidad and Tobago and the Windward Islands are expecting some severe weather resulting from a cyclone that may develop into a storm called Matthew. The last time Trinidad was under such a serious weather disturbance watch I remember being on dorms with my sorority sisters. As responsible “Trinbagonians” there was always an urgency to make our Caricom brothers and sisters feel at home. So in true “Trini” style we were always prepared for this event and hosted our own “storm party”. Please note that this weather disturbance has not developed into a storm and this storm party is just another event. So I have prepared a “do it yourself” list for those of us who may need some assistance with their storm party planning! Perhaps you can call it “Matthew: The Revival” as there was a storm called Matthew in 2010.
A storm party like this requires very little décor as there is a high potential that efforts into designs could be wiped out in a heartbeat. Although some super charged LED lights, glow in the dark stickers and glow sticks can light up the night and be pretty nifty in the event of power outage.
Each person attending should arrive in whatever they feel comfortable wearing. However, they should walk with an extra change of clothing and closed toe footwear that protects their feet in the event of street and flash flooding. They should also walk with their own blankets just in case they may need it.
If you are throwing this party at your home please make sure that the area is stable for example whether it is away from windows and flying objects. Choose wisely as you do not want guests to go missing. As the host/hostess you should also be informed of the nearest buildings that would be transformed into temporary shelters. Also keep a list of emergency numbers on hand (fire service, police service, office of disaster and preparedness and hospitals). It is advisable to know the floor plan for your storm party location and the evacuation routes should there be a need to exit the party quickly. Create a buddy system at your party so each person is in charge of their buddy’s whereabouts throughout the party.
The meteorological office issued statements that we can expect strong winds and heavy rains even flash flooding. Strategically if your guests are arriving before tonight and you wish to do a three course meal then that is fine as well. you can even set up a coal pot or barbecue pit and get your roast on! My only concern is that they consume the food before the power goes. Yet if you anticipate a flood or power outage ruining your party then it would be more ideal that the party food on your table is canned. Some ideas revolve around lots of appetizers that are non perishable. These can include canned sausages, cereals, canned tuna, bread, crackers, canned fruit, peanut butter, jams, tacos, canned beans. If you do not want so much pressure on you as hostess you can ask your guests to admit one can to the party and create a list of the items so there is no repetition (please wash these cans and dry them before attending the storm party and do not forget the can opener). Ideally you should have a lot of potable drinking water so stock up on bottled water and whichever non perishable canned or bottled beverage you prefer. If there are toddlers and babies at your party then remember to stock up on their special items for their diet as well as their disposables. Disposable cutlery, cups and plates should be bought as well as garbage bags.
You are at liberty to decide which activities you would like to have at your party. You can play musical chairs, musical makeover, monopoly, karaoke, go fish and the list goes on. Jokes, story-telling and other creative exercises can keep your crowd entertained and occupied whilst anticipating further developments in the weather pattern disturbance.
Of course you should have a mobile charger for your phones, tablets, ipads and electronic devices in the event that the power goes and you need to recharge your batteries. I am sure your favourite music is already on your “storm party” playlist to keep you all stress free before the lights flicker and the wind comes howling in the night. However, a battery operated radio with a replacement battery pack is advisable to have on hand so you can tune in to your favourite radio station and hear updates on the status of the developing weather pattern.
I would advise you to have a first aid kit on standby in the event the party gets into full swing and there may be a few cuts and bruises whilst bracing for the strong winds and dancing to your favourite tunes. The kit should also include some sanitizer for cleaning wounds, bandages, medication and allergy medication among other things. Tape, scissors, garbage bags, blankets should be stored in dry locked plastic containers. You can also use those hard cover suitcases or plastic buckets with lids for storage of important documents and items you wish to keep dry and safe. Flashlight, matches, candles can also be kept in storage. The power can be knocked out so I advise you to set up your backup generator if you can. Insect sprays, repellents, calamine lotion and citronella candles should also be kept as they may come in very handy if the power goes and the electronic mosquito bug mats stop working. Personal items such as toilet paper, soaps and sanitary napkins should also be stored in the event that you run out of this stock. Those of you who keep shovels, brooms and machetes in your homes you should secure them properly because the last thing you want is your guest getting accidentally hurt by a flying machete. However, they may be very useful if torrential rains and winds arrive.
See below some useful links
Peace Out Trinidad
Enjoy the Party