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Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, August 18, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesVITEMA Hosts Disaster Preparedness Expos

VITEMA Hosts Disaster Preparedness Expos

Gail Samuel has volunteered at American Red Cross USVI Chapter for the last 15 years. She stood behind a Red Cross table at Tutu Park Mall layered with magnets, stickers, folders, pamphlets and booklets. "I live in this community so I care about it," said Samuel, a disaster team leader, social worker and native of St. Thomas.

Samuel was one of many employees of agencies, government departments and nongovernment organizations participating in the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency’s annual All Hazard Preparedness Expo at Tutu Park Mall on Thursday.

Organizers gave out literature and free gifts to heighten awareness about disaster readiness.

Samuel implored people walking by to read her organization’s materials on emergency and disaster preparedness.

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Organizers disseminated information on how to better prepare for, survive and recover from disaster. Several safety officials spoke of emergency preparedness while also promoting their own specific services to the public.

VITEMA Director Elton Lewis said the challenge is to get people to take preparations serious. "The best way to survive a catastrophe is to be prepared,” he said. “We must be self-sufficient," he added, noting that living on an island there’s no place to go when disaster strikes.

Similar emergency preparedness expos will take place Friday on St. John and Saturday on St. Croix. VITEMA and more than 30 other organizations will be in Cruz Bay from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday and in Buddhoe Park from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Both events will kick off with a first responder motorcade.

The St. John motorcade will begin at Mongoose Junction then travel to the Post Office and finally to the Cruz Bay parking lot area.

On St. Croix, the first responder motorcade will begin at approximately 8:45 a.m. from Canegata ballpark and make its way to Buddhoe Park in Frederiksted, according to a VITEMA press release.

The theme of the 2013 Expo is “Commit to Prepare for All Hazards,” which suggests residents take steps now to prepare their families, homes and businesses for potential disasters.

Lewis said the Virgin Islands is vulnerable not only to tropical storms and hurricanes, but also to no-notice events such as earthquakes, tsunamis, wildfires and man-made disasters.

Dalis Walwyn, 2013 expo chairman and St. Thomas Rescue spokesman, said the territory cannot depend solely on the federal and local government to provide all the resources but must also prepare as a community.

Lewis said no one could stop natural disasters but we can “mitigate them through preparation."

Naisha Monelle-Joseph, a specialist at the V.I. Military Family Assistance Center, said disaster preparedness not only affects local residents but their loved ones in the military.

Norma Bailey, coordinator at the center on St. Croix, said the center is important in time of disasters because it helps track down family members in the Virgin Islands for military personnel deployed abroad.

"Our main goal is to keep our military, whether deployed or in peacetime, in the right frame of mind so they’re able to work," Bailey said. "Just because you put a uniform on, doesn’t mean you stop being in need of help."

Bailey and Monelle-Joseph said they reach out to military families in the Virgin Islands once a month. There is also a center on St. Thomas.

Monelle-Joseph said the center is bound by law to keep all correspondence with military personnel or their families confidential unless there is a threat of imminent danger.

Participants at the expo included the Fire Service; the departments of Police, Human Services, and Planning and Natural Resources; V.I. Rescue; OSHA; and the National Park Service.

Participating nongovernment organizations included the American Red Cross, the Animal Shelter, Sister Hood, Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and Teen CERT, along with various private sector participants including Paradise Lumber and CaribSupply. Major expo sponsors include FEMA, Innovative, the V.I. Water & Power Authority, the V.I. Lottery, the V.I. National Guard and WSVI TV Channel 8.

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Gail Samuel has volunteered at American Red Cross USVI Chapter for the last 15 years. She stood behind a Red Cross table at Tutu Park Mall layered with magnets, stickers, folders, pamphlets and booklets. "I live in this community so I care about it," said Samuel, a disaster team leader, social worker and native of St. Thomas.

Samuel was one of many employees of agencies, government departments and nongovernment organizations participating in the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency's annual All Hazard Preparedness Expo at Tutu Park Mall on Thursday.

Organizers gave out literature and free gifts to heighten awareness about disaster readiness.

Samuel implored people walking by to read her organization's materials on emergency and disaster preparedness.

Organizers disseminated information on how to better prepare for, survive and recover from disaster. Several safety officials spoke of emergency preparedness while also promoting their own specific services to the public.

VITEMA Director Elton Lewis said the challenge is to get people to take preparations serious. "The best way to survive a catastrophe is to be prepared,” he said. “We must be self-sufficient," he added, noting that living on an island there’s no place to go when disaster strikes.

Similar emergency preparedness expos will take place Friday on St. John and Saturday on St. Croix. VITEMA and more than 30 other organizations will be in Cruz Bay from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday and in Buddhoe Park from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Both events will kick off with a first responder motorcade.

The St. John motorcade will begin at Mongoose Junction then travel to the Post Office and finally to the Cruz Bay parking lot area.

On St. Croix, the first responder motorcade will begin at approximately 8:45 a.m. from Canegata ballpark and make its way to Buddhoe Park in Frederiksted, according to a VITEMA press release.

The theme of the 2013 Expo is “Commit to Prepare for All Hazards,” which suggests residents take steps now to prepare their families, homes and businesses for potential disasters.

Lewis said the Virgin Islands is vulnerable not only to tropical storms and hurricanes, but also to no-notice events such as earthquakes, tsunamis, wildfires and man-made disasters.

Dalis Walwyn, 2013 expo chairman and St. Thomas Rescue spokesman, said the territory cannot depend solely on the federal and local government to provide all the resources but must also prepare as a community.

Lewis said no one could stop natural disasters but we can “mitigate them through preparation."

Naisha Monelle-Joseph, a specialist at the V.I. Military Family Assistance Center, said disaster preparedness not only affects local residents but their loved ones in the military.

Norma Bailey, coordinator at the center on St. Croix, said the center is important in time of disasters because it helps track down family members in the Virgin Islands for military personnel deployed abroad.

"Our main goal is to keep our military, whether deployed or in peacetime, in the right frame of mind so they're able to work," Bailey said. "Just because you put a uniform on, doesn't mean you stop being in need of help."

Bailey and Monelle-Joseph said they reach out to military families in the Virgin Islands once a month. There is also a center on St. Thomas.

Monelle-Joseph said the center is bound by law to keep all correspondence with military personnel or their families confidential unless there is a threat of imminent danger.

Participants at the expo included the Fire Service; the departments of Police, Human Services, and Planning and Natural Resources; V.I. Rescue; OSHA; and the National Park Service.

Participating nongovernment organizations included the American Red Cross, the Animal Shelter, Sister Hood, Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and Teen CERT, along with various private sector participants including Paradise Lumber and CaribSupply. Major expo sponsors include FEMA, Innovative, the V.I. Water & Power Authority, the V.I. Lottery, the V.I. National Guard and WSVI TV Channel 8.