To understand what it means to Activate NEMA, you must first understand that NEMA does not actually activate. What really happens is that the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) that is housed within NEMA activates. An Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is a central command and control facility that is responsible for carrying out Emergency Management activities, and ensuring the continuity of operations. The National Emergency Operations Center (NEOC) is responsible for carrying out emergency management, and ensuring the continuity of operations for the entire country and is located inside the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). Click this link for more information on exactly what an NEOC is: https://www.nema-bahamas.info/post/what-is-the-national-emergency-operations-center. Once the Director of NEMA is notified of an approaching hazard or an emergency, via verbal or written report, the Director initiates Phase One (1) of the Five (5) Phase Disaster Response Plan by informing the relevant decision makers and partially activating the NEOC. You can find more information about the Five (5) Phase Disaster Response Plan by clicking this link https://www.nema-bahamas.info/post/what-does-nema-do-before-during-and-after-a-disaste. To effectively activate the NEOC, the Director contacts the various agencies that are best equipped to respond to the reported emergency.
While it is critical that crucial decision makers are informed of the approaching hazard or emergency, it is also critical that Technical Specialists that can manage, correct and problem solve in real time are also informed, assembled and deployed. This means contacting liaisons from relevant sectors of Government, Quasi-Government, Non-Governmental Organizations and local, regional and international partners so that they can each manage their disaster response efforts based on their specialties in collaboration and coordination with NEMA and the NEOC. To determine which technical specialists are required for the hazard, NEMA analyses the nature of the hazard, contacts the Family Island Administrator(s) and identifies the risks, and needs of the impacted island(s) and the people that inhabit the island(s).
NEOC Activation Process
The Director of NEMA receives a report on an approaching hazard or an emergency that is becoming a disaster from the appropriate authority.
The Director informs the relevant decision makers including the Prime Minister, The Secretary to the Cabinet and The Permanent Secretary for NEMA.
The Director Partially or Fully Activates the NEOC by reaching out to the various Government, Quasi-Government and Private agencies to inform them of the situation and request that each agency deploys a liaison officer to assemble at NEMA to begin coordinating a unified disaster response. Each Liaison Officer is a Technical Specialist in their own field and operates as a representative of their agency.
The Liaison Officers assemble at NEMA’s NEOC and begin communicating with the EOCs in their corresponding agencies and with the EOC on the impacted island if the hazard or emergency is taking place on one of the Family Islands.
The Liaison Officers communicate with each other both verbally and through digital reports of the needs of those impacted by the hazard; while also facilitating disaster response by providing access to valuable resources. These resources include food, water, emergency medical evacuations, electricity restoration services and search and rescue services. Once the ‘All Clear’ has been given and the needs of the impacted area are no longer critical
The technical staff submit one final digital report that offers an update on the previously reported needs and The Director Deactivates the NEOC which permits all of the Technical Specialists to return to their agencies.
We know that Disaster Management can seem complex or confusing sometimes and we hope that this explanation helps you to better understand how we serve you.