As the territory begins the most active month during the hurricane season, Viya advises its employees and customers that in the event of a severe storm, hurricane, natural or man-made disaster, it is important that they tune in to local radio stations or television stations and connect to social media to stay abreast of weather conditions and updates from the company.
Vice President of Public Relations and Governmental Affairs Jennifer Matarangas-King said, “This is Viya’s second year that we will be in the midst of hurricane season, while facing the COVID-19 pandemic. Viya remains committed to keeping customers connected before and after any emergency that our community may face.”
“During hurricane season, we will continue to engage with our customers via live radio shows, social media and a variety of media channels. We are constantly advising our customers that Viya is working diligently on disaster preparedness because we know the importance of connectivity for telework, telehealth and virtual learning.”
Viya’s website (www.viya.vi) is a useful customer care and billing portal that allows customers to receive assistance and critical information 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Viya’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ViyaUSVI) is another source of real time updates in the event of a disaster.
Viya also encourages customers to sign up for the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency’s alert system to closely track the path of impending storms and actions that are being taken by the local government.
Customers can simply logon to www.vitema.vi.gov to register to receive emergency alerts on their email, wireless mobile device or telephone. The Viya team participates in VITEMA’s Emergency Management Council meetings, regularly collaborates with VITEMA on training initiatives and continues to support VITEMA’s efforts to keep the public informed of all natural disasters including hurricanes.
Viya also has an ongoing dialogue with other public sector partners such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Homeland Security and the Virgin Islands Department of Public Works to ensure that all parties are prepared in the event of a disaster.
“We are asking all of our customers to include the maintenance of critical communication equipment on the list of things that should be considered in preparation for hurricane season. In the same manner that we keep spare batteries for our flashlights and radios, we must ensure that our modems and wireless devices are adequately charged, and we have spare power sources. In addition to phone chargers, solar chargers and battery banks, Viya also sells generators,” said Matarangas-King.
Viya employees also recently participated in training sessions conducted by the American Red Cross. The aforementioned communication accessories were included in the preparedness kit provided to attendees.
After hurricanes Irma and Maria, Viya immediately erected Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the Virgin Islands, and the public Wi-Fi hotspots are still available for the community. A complete list of Viya’s hotspots throughout the territory is available online at https://viya.vi/free-hotspots/.
Finally, Viya reminds customers that in the event of a disaster they should refrain from moving or cutting downed lines on their property or in the vicinity of their homes because they may be active power lines, telephone lines or cable TV lines. To report downed lines or any other Viya service-related issues, customers can contact Viya’s representatives by calling 777-Viya (8492).