Virgin Islands residents are invited to join the annual BVI ShakeOut, a drill to practise the best way to stay safe during an earthquake.
The BVI ShakeOut is part of International ShakeOut Day, held annually on the third Thursday in October that attracts millions of participants globally.
According to DDM Training Manager, Carishma Hicks, drills where participants go through the motions of safe response help to identify any gaps or limitations in preparedness.
Ms. Hicks also stated that the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti’s Tiburon Peninsula on August 14th serves as a reminder that strong quakes can happen without warning, so residents need to do all they can to Be Ready.
“Practical exercises are the best way to learn how we can improve our preparedness without actually having to experience a disaster. Going through the motions allows us to see areas that we can improve to strengthen our overall level of preparedness,” Ms. Hicks said.
During the self-led exercise, participants practise the “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” safety method endorsed by the Department of Disaster Management along with emergency officials and first responders worldwide.
DROP where you are, onto your hands and knees. This position protects you from being knocked down and allows you to stay low to crawl to shelter if nearby.
COVER your head and neck with one arm and hand
• If a sturdy table or desk is nearby, crawl underneath it for shelter
• If no shelter is nearby, crawl toward an interior wall (away from windows)
• Stay low; bend over to protect vital organs
HOLD ON until shaking stops
• Under shelter: hold it with one hand; move with your shelter if it shifts
• No shelter: hold on to your head and neck with both arms and hands.
The BVI ShakeOut is free and open to all. To join, simply register at www.surveymonkey.com/r/thegreatshake. Then, on October 21 an 10:21 a.m., practice the drop, cover and hold for 60 seconds. Participants are also encouraged to review their earthquake response plans and practise them together as a family, office, or other organisation; and to share images of their participation on social media with the #BVIShakeOut tag. For earthquake preparedness resources or tips on personalising the drill for your organisation, please call (284) 468-4200 or email [email protected].
To date, 18.7 million people are registered to participate in this global event. The BVI ShakeOut is coordinated by the DDM in partnership with the Puerto Rico Seismic Network, the U.S. Geological Survey and dozens of other partners. ShakeOut is coordinated globally by the University of Southern California’s Earthquake Centre.