On Thursday, Oct. 17, over 13,700 U.S. Virgin Islands residents joined the nation and participated in the Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drill hosted by the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA) territory-wide. The exercise consisted of a live test of the territory’s Emergency Alert System (EAS) and the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA), according to the www.GreatShakeOut.org website.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Integrated Public Alert & Warning System (IPAWS) server reported that WEA and Emergency Alert System tests were successful. All major cellular carriers in the territory received and broadcasted the Wireless Emergency Alert. Additionally, the EAS delivery report showed a status code “EAS 500,” which means the alert to EAS was a success.
The Live Test of the EAS and WEA in combination with Alert VI capabilities confirmed that VITEMA will be able to deliver mass emergency notifications to Virgin Islands residents and visitors via mobile devices, landline, TTY devices, radio, television, email and social media outlets within a matter of seconds.
The Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drill provided residents an opportunity to practice immediate protection techniques to safeguard themselves, and to become better prepared in any scenario. Practicing what to do in an emergency before one happens can develop confidence in one’s ability to handle an emergency and can help reduce stress at the time too.
“Small earthquakes occur in and around the territory often, although we may not feel them. Unlike hurricanes, these natural events come with little to no warning and can cause major devastation,” said VITEMA Director Daryl D. Jaschen.
“Residents must continue [to] partner with the USVI Government to develop a culture of preparedness in the territory. Creating a comprehensive, all-hazards emergency plan is the first step, followed by regular earthquake drills to asses plans is the best approach we can take to instill in the minds of our residents the correct procedures to be followed during the actual occurrence.”
Residents are encouraged to visit the VITEMA website www.vitema.vi.gov to participate in a quick survey on the Live Test of the EAS and WEA. The survey will be available until midnight on Oct. 31 and will provide VITEMA with additional data on the Live EAS and WEA Test.
To sign up for emergency, weather related, public safety and service disruption alerts in the USVI, sign up for Alert VI by visiting www.vitema.vi.gov today.