December 2, 20141386Views

(Photo Caption: Members of the EMAP Technical Committee undertaking their
evaluation of the BVI National Disaster Management Programme to determine
whether or not it meets all 64 standards required for accreditation.)

By the end of this week, the British
Virgin Islands (BVI) will know whether its National Disaster Management
Programme (NDMP), led by the Department of Disaster Management (DDM), has met the
required standards and can be considered for accreditation from the United
States based Emergency Management Accreditation Programme (EMAP).

An eight person team, comprising
members of the EMAP Technical Committee is currently in the Territory to evaluate
the NDMP against the 64 EMAP standards and determine whether the Territory has achieved
the requirements for conditional or full accreditation.

EMAP Executive Director, Ms. Nicole Ishmael explained that EMAP seeks to
foster “excellence and accountability in emergency management and homeland
security programmes, by establishing credible standards applied in a peer
review accreditation process. The vision of EMAP is to ensure safer
communities through measurable standards of excellence for emergency management

EMAP Team Leader, Ms. Karen Windon commended the BVI for its leadership
role in seeking the voluntary accreditation.

“It is impressive that the BVI is the first among its peers to seek the
EMAP accreditation which has been proven internationally to enhance disaster
management programmes as well as ensure continuity and consistency in
operation,” Ms. Windon stated.

DDM Director, Ms. Sharleen DaBreo has welcomed the voluntary assessment,
noting that the process has been an enlightening one which has given greater
insight into the extensive work, time, effort and commitment invested by the
Government since the late 1970s in advancing the disaster management programme
in the BVI. 

She noted too that, “There have been significant investments made by
past and current leaders to ensure the sustainability of the programme is
maintained.  It is important to also
recognise the invaluable contribution made by Mr. Elton Georges who worked at
the helm of the department for several years, providing astute guidance since
the programme was formally established in 1983.”

Examining the contextual background of the accreditation, Ms. DaBreo said
“There’s a close link between the vision of EMAP and the vision of the current
Virgin Islands Comprehensive Disaster Management Strategy and Programming
Framework, which is to achieve a SMART footprint by working towards resilience
and safeguarding lives, livelihoods and the sustainable development of the
Virgin Islands.”

 Ms. DaBreo further stated, “We
are hoping for full accreditation but if we are unable to receive it, we would still
benefit from the thorough review and the many lessons learnt which will in turn
create for us a road map to chart the path to where we need to be.”

Prior to this week’s accreditation review, four persons in the BVI,
inclusive of DDM staff, Health Disaster Coordinator, Dr. Ronald Georges and
Chief Planner, Mr. Gregory Adams received training through support from the
Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to undertake the self-assessment process.  The FCO has also generously covered all costs
associated with the accreditation process, an offer which has been extended to
all British Overseas Territories.

Following the assessment, the review committee will present a report on its
findings to the EMAP Commission and a decision accreditation will be made
within 60 days. Should the BVI receive accreditation, it will join the 24
states in the USA that have already received the full accreditation as well as the
Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and Virginia Tech University.  The accreditation is valid for five years.