Wednesday, March 2, 2011

NEMA installing severe weather warning systems

NEMA’s Director, Captain Stephen Russell is pictured here with members of the Grand Bahama Disaster Consultative Committee as Clement Cartwright of Wasthi Communications discuss the early warning siren system, installed at Hawksbill, Grand Bahama, the first of its kind for The Bahamas.  Left to right are: Mr. Cartwright; Edney Sherman; Sr. Lt. Whitfield Major, Royal Bahamas Defence Force; Don Cornish, Administrator, City of Freeport; Mr. Russell; and Miss Tammi Mitchell, co-chairman, Grand Bahama Disaster Consultative Committee. (BIS Photo/Simon Lewis)

Written by BIS

FREEPORT, Grand Bahama – The National Emergency management agency is in the process of installing a severe weather warning siren system throughout The Bahamas.

The initial segment was installed at Hawksbill, Grand Bahama and will cater to the neighbouring settlements of Pinder's Point, Lewis Yard, Hunters, South Bahamia and to some extent the industrial park area.

NEMA’s director, Captain Stephen Russell was in Grand Bahama Tuesday to test the system, the first of its kind in the country. The siren could be heard more than a mile away and in fact caused some neighbouring residents to visit the site to find out what was going on.

Also attending the testing were members of the Grand Bahama Disaster Consultative Committee, officials from the Royal Bahamas Police and the Defence Force.

“Almost a year ago when we had the tornado here in Grand Bahama, it was our aim to try to rectify that problem to a certain extent in terms of trying to notify the public in the event some severe weather system was approaching the island," said Captain Russell.

“So we got approval from the Government to procure this first Early Warning Siren System, and our aim was to install it and have it tested and eventually further sensitise the public to the various sounds and tunes so that they can know what to expect when they hear this sound,” he stated.

He said that it is NEMA’s intention moving forward to be able to alert the public as soon as possible with respect to any form of natural hazards approaching the islands.

SIREN SYTEM – NEMA’ s Director Captain Stephen Russell is pictured right along with members of the Grand Bahama Disaster Consultative Committee as they test the newly installed severe weather warning system at Hawksbill, Grand Bahama on Tuesday morning. (BIS Photo/Simon Lewis)

“You would also recalled that in January of 2010 when they had the earthquake in Haiti, we got tsunami warnings for the first time for The Bahamas, and that has perked our attention as well, and we need to make sure that we are able to alert The Bahamas almost simultaneously in the event that any sector of The Bahamas is likely to be threatened by natural disaster," he said.

The siren system was installed at a cost of $58,000 and is solar powered. It is capable to handing out a number of warning sounds and messages.

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