Less than two years ago in late August and early September of 2019, Hurricane Dorian ravaged the Bahamas reaching Category 5 intensity, with maximum sustained winds of 185 mph while making landfall in Elbow Cay. Dorian was the costliest disaster in Bahamian history, estimated to have left behind $5.1 billion in damage in that country, The telecom sector suffered financial losses of $42.1 million.
Kathy Gill, President of Tower Safety and Rescue saw it all not too long afterward on a training trip. She was appalled not only by the devastation but by the lack of equipment used by tower riggers and, with what little they did have, its poor condition. Gill left her state-of-the-art gear behind but knew it was a small contribution.
“It’s still a disaster as far as current crews are concerned,” Gill told Inside Towers. “They are relying on very used and very dangerous equipment, if they have it at all.” She said her sources told her there are about 12-to-15 crews operating on the island.
“They needed it then and still need blocks, trolley’s, lanyards, harnesses, grillions, carabiners, slings, rope, rope bags, and all the gear we take for granted and rely on,” Gill said.
During her training visit, Gill said she was impressed at how eager her students were not only to learn but help rebuild their home country after a catastrophe. “These tower riggers want safety, they want to learn, they want the American ANSI/OSHA standards to protect lives. These men are travelling to islands by themselves because of the lack of money to afford a two-man crew. They have minimal rigging rope and rescue rope.”
“We can help get this country back online and keep our fellow climbers safe by donating equipment,” Gill said. She urged anyone who can help to send their gear or donations to: Charles Richarson at CeeMar Telecom-Charles, 1707 S. Perimeter Rd., Hngr 33B, Suite 2453, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309. If you have questions, phone 242-477-7678, email: [email protected]
The island’s major carrier, BTC, said it is continuing to upgrade its central offices nationwide and will replace traditional brick and mortar central offices with “next-generation self-sustaining solutions.” BTC said in a statement it’s modernizing its network to thousands of homes across and have completed fiber-to-the-home upgrades in Grand Bahama, Exuma and surrounding Cays, and several areas of New Providence.