Photo shows: Chief Petty Officer Gavin Dean of the RBDF Disaster Management Unit (DMU) distributing brochures on Monday, May 31, 2021 at the Coral Harbour Base. The DMU distributed brochures detailing guidelines and preparations in the event of a hurricane, to its personnel. (Photo courtesy of RBDF)

In keeping with the Commander Defence Force, Commodore Raymond King’s strategic intent of enhancing responsiveness and preparations for the current hurricane season, members of the RBDF Disaster Management Unit distributed brochures to members of the force on Monday, May 31, 2021. 

The six-month Atlantic hurricane season, which officially began Tuesday, June 1st, 2021, ends November 30, 2021. During this period, the National Hurricane Center has designated twenty-one storm names, some of which may achieve hurricane status. 

Led by Commander Sonia Miller, Commanding Officer of the RBDF Disaster Management Unit, the unit plays vital roles in preparing the members of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force to respond during times of hurricanes. She urged Officers and Marines to follow hurricane updates on radio and TV news to make the necessary provisions in ensuring their families are safe.  

 Over four hundred brochures detailing guidelines and preparations in the event of a hurricane were distributed to the Officers and Marines at the Coral Harbour Base. The contents included: Preparing for a hurricane; hurricane kits; actions to be taken before, during, and post-hurricane; duties and responsibilities of the various RBDF hurricane Advance, Impact and Disaster Response Teams; and Shelter Management duties.

The Royal Bahamas Defence has been mandated by the Government to provide disaster relief and assistance to any islands within the archipelago of the Bahamas that are affected by a hurricane. Before a hurricane season, a document called Captain Coral Harbour’s Temporary Memorandum (TM) is published. This memorandum contains information on the Hurricane Orders, Hurricane Platoons, Disaster Search and Rescue Teams, teams to assist the RBDF Families, Shelter Management Teams for New Providence, Hurricane Berthing Plans, Hurricane Stores List, Advance Teams, Impact Teams and a list of RBDF representatives to assist the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

The Royal Bahamas Defence Force’s response before, during, and post-hurricane activities take place in four phases. These phases include the mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery stage. The mitigation stage refers to activities that eliminate or reduce the change of occurrence or the effects of the disaster. This includes identifying vulnerability to Defence Force property, by conducting an inspection of RBDF buildings and making the necessary structural repairs as required. The preparedness stage is planning how to respond when an emergency or disaster occurs and working to acquire the resources to effectively respond.

The Royal Bahamas Defence Force remains committed to disaster preparedness and stands ready to render disaster relief assistance while guarding the heritage of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. 

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