*File photo
*File photo

Good afternoon and thank you for coming. The month of June is upon us and that means the beginning of Hurricane Season. This last week of May is Hurricane Awareness Week and it presents an opportunity to remind everyone of the importance of preparing for this storm season.

In the ten years since Hurricane Fabian, Bermuda has been spared the worst of several named storms. However, we must continue to hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. During this week and throughout the June to November hurricane season I encourage everyone to take all of the familiar steps to prepare for a hurricane.

Don’t wait until the last minute to check for your supply of batteries, fuel for your car or bike and even your generator. Make sure that your property is secured; check that your insurance is up to date and that any trees are properly trimmed and safely away from power lines. For boat owners make sure your boat is secure well in advance of any storm. Lastly, don’t forget your pets. Animals should be safe and secure also. These are just some of the precautions to be taken in preparing for any storm during this season.

Last week the Emergency Measures Organization met and I am pleased to confirm that Government agencies as well as our private sector partners are well prepared and in a state of readiness for anything this season might bring. The public can be confident that we have well tested plans and the resources required to meet the challenge in the wake of such an event.

Let me emphasize a critical point in this era of rapid communication and modern technology. In the time preceding a storm and in the aftermath, the EMO, through its spokesperson, is the ONLY official source for storm-related information. This includes things like the closure of the Causeway, adjustments to work hours or school hours and public transportation advisories. If you don’t hear it from us, it’s probably not true.

I recognize the culture of instantaneous information and the 24-hour news cycle. Clear, fast and reliable information is important. I have asked a team from the agencies represented on the EMO to develop a partnership with local communications service providers to get accurate information to cell phone subscribers as part of our communication effort.

I am pleased to say that this discussion is already well advanced and a further announcement will be made shortly.

Kimberley Zuill of the Bermuda Weather Service will address the predictions for this season. Just before she comes to the podium, I again want to encourage everyone to check their hurricane stores and make sure that you have the essentials in the event of a storm.

After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Thank you.