The Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA) commends the community for taking a pro-active role in tsunami and earthquake preparedness, and for participation in the territory-wide Earthquake Town Hall Meetings that began on Jan. 23 and ended on Feb. 12.
VITEMA thanks the Office of the Governor, St. Paul’s Anglican Church, V.I Department of Education, Department of Sports Parks & Recreation, University of the Virgin Islands, the Federal Emergency Management Agency Disability Integration Team and Office of Equal Rights, and the Office of Sen. Steven D. Payne Sr. for their timely support and collaboration in the coordination of the town hall meetings.
“It is important for residents to have access to interactive discussions about earthquake and tsunami preparedness, to pose important questions, and to get the assistance they need to strengthen their emergency plans,” said VITEMA Director Daryl D. Jaschen.
Over 460 residents participated in the town hall meetings across the territory; the high resident turnout was appreciated by the entire VITEMA staff. “Knowing that residents are willing to take time out of their schedules to understand how threats will affect their households puts government agencies in a better position to respond and recover from a seismic threat,” said Jaschen. “These past few weeks made us proud of our territory’s commitment to remain informed, prepared and resilient.”
The U.S. Virgin Islands has survived previous tsunami events in centuries prior; with modern technology and a willingness of the community to remain engaged in preparedness, VITEMA stands ready to respond to seismic activity with confidence now and in the future.
“Although the Caribbean in general has been seismically active in the past few months, we count our blessings but remain focused on the local capability of residents and government agencies,” said Jaschen.
Residents who were not able to attend the meetings should take a few immediate actions today:
Register for Alert VI emergency notifications at www.vitema.vi.gov
Find the best route to get inland (1 mile) or to higher ground (82 ft.) in all the areas that you work and spend leisure time
Prepare an emergency “go-bag” for your home and vehicle
Practice “Drop, Cover and Hold On” earthquake techniques with the elderly, disabled and children
Designate meeting points and reuniting plans should family members be in different areas at the time of an event
Be sure to have a battery-operated radio available if communication systems become impaired. Follow instructions provided by VITEMA and other official sources.