Mr. Speaker, I rise this morning to remind this Honourable House that we have just entered Hurricane Season which runs from 1st June until 30th November. We have already seen the first tropical storm of the season, Sub-Tropical Storm ANDREA, which was a potential threat to Bermuda during 21st and 22nd May.
Mr. Speaker, On Wednesday 5th June, I chaired a meeting of the Emergency Measures Organisation Executive, which met to discuss the islands preparedness as we enter Hurricane Season. I am pleased to report that all agencies are prepared, and apart from some fine tuning, Bermuda EMO agencies stand ready should a hurricane threaten our shores. At this time I will remind this Honorable House that all preparedness activities being under taken by the 60 plus agencies that form the wider EMO, are being coordinated and documented by the Disaster Risk Reduction and Mitigation Team which works out of Ministry Headquarters.
Mr. Speaker, the Bermuda Weather Service reports that the latest hurricane forecast by international agencies have predicted an average season with thirteen named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes.
Mr. Speaker, we are reminded that Hurricanes FAY and GONZALO hit Bermuda in 2014, JOAQUIN hit Bermuda in 2015 and NICOLE hit Bermuda in 2016. In 2017 and 2018 Bermuda was spared any hurricane activity.
Mr. Speaker, It only takes one hurricane to make 2019 an active season for Bermuda, and I urge all residents to be prepared.
- Now is the time to prepare and repair your house for hurricane season
- Now is the time to look at your family plans and update them with any changes to phone numbers etc.
- Now is the time to take stock of all medical prescriptions that your family and pets require and ensure you have at least two weeks supply on hand
- Now is the time to check your hurricane kit to make sure you have working flashlights, a portable radio with spare batteries and a stock of non-perishable food to last your family for seven days
- Now is the time to look at your neighbours and ask them if they need any help with their preparations
Mr Speaker, in April The Department of Communications released their smart phone application called ‘Tree Frog’. This application will alert all users to news and alerts posted by the Bermuda Government and includes any alerts posted by the Emergency Measures Organisation that the public needs to be urgently aware of. I urge all in this Honorable House and all of Bermuda’s residents to sign up for this app, which is free, to ensure that you receive any emergency alerts.
Mr Speaker, the Disaster Risk Reduction and Mitigation Team will hold a further EMO meeting for all EMO agencies in late August, to update the country on the last hurricane season forecast for 2019, which will be published at the beginning of August.
Mr. Speaker, the work of the DRRM team is important in ensuring that Bermuda is prepared for any large scale disaster. I will continue to update this Honourable House on this work and the important work of all of the Departments and Units within the Ministry of National Security.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.