THE Grand Bahama Port Authority Ltd announced yesterday that it has completed a “robust and comprehensive” Storm Response Plan for the start of the new Hurricane Season.
Philcher Grant, chief operating officer at Grand Bahama Utility Company and public affairs director for Grand Bahama Port Authority, said they are positioned and ready to respond for any event.
The GBPA, she said, has learned from the hard lessons over the years of many previous storms, including Hurricane Dorian in 2019.
“We pray we are spared another storm event, but we must ensure we are ready to meet any eventuality that comes our way. We are confident we have done the work so that we are in a position to respond for any event,” Ms Grant said.
The GBPA executive said there are trained employees who will ride out the storm and respond right away in a storm event. Additionally, she noted that they have signed MOU with NGOs for additional resources if needed, and partnerships with industrial stakeholders to assist in clearing paths for emergency responders and to begin the work of restoring their water plant.
Ms Grant said their Reverse Osmosis system is a mobile that can be safely secured in the event of a tiered storm approach.
Nakira Wilchcombe, vice president of the Building and Development Services Department, said after the storm they conduct assessments of building structures to make sure it can be safely re-energised.
To assist their teams, she encouraged residents to secure property conveyance and documents in a safe, dry place where they can be easily retrieved to present to the Building and Development Services Department.
Ms Wilchcombe also stressed that it is important that people know their legal address or description, including the street name, the Block and Lot numbers.
She said people can visit their office if they need assistance retrieving their legal address description.
Troy McIntosh, deputy director of Building Development Services Department, is responsible for maintenance of the city, drainage, trash removal, illegal dumpsite, trees trimming and debris removal.
He noted that they have completed pre-storm drain checks and maintenance months in advance of June 1.
Mr McIntosh further indicated that all the drain systems have GPS, and new drains have been installed where issues of severe flooding exists.
He encouraged residents to contact their 24-hour helpline at 352-2000 to report any areas where there are flood issues that may require new drain installation or maintenance.
Glendia Sweeting, manager of Group Corporate Affairs, and storm lead for communications, said that vital information to help people prepare will be shared via their social media pages, the GB Port Authority Facebook page, Instagram, Twitter, and via radio and television. She said people may also send messages via their GBPA Facebook page.
Information may also be accessed at their website www.gbpa.com and their contact us page. She encouraged residents to also download the Freeport Report App to receive push notifications to their phones. The app may be downloaded from Google Play store or the App Store.
Ms Sweeting said that they will launch a universal call centre and a customer service centre in a safe area in the event of a tiered storm approach.
Cory Cartwright, assistant maintenance manager for Lucaya Service Company and GB DEVCO, said that all debris in residential areas should be placed out for removal before June 16 to meet the collection by Sanitation Services.
He reported that the GBPA and DEVCO moved over $21m in Hurricane Dorian debris. “We assisted residents with clearing roof structures, furniture and appliances,” he added.
He noted that in the eastern area of Lucaya, 260 homes were affected. “To date, we have 100 homes that are still hurricane damaged and pose threats to the community,” Mr Cartwright said.
Mr Cartwright insists that residents should always have a bag ready to move in case they have to be evacuated. He said they should also know where to go in the event they must leave home before a rescue team can get them.