July 22, 20151406Views

Employees of Delta Petroleum are the
first to benefit from the newly introduced Business Emergency Response Training
(BERT) facilitated by the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) and the BVI
Red Cross.

BERT, adapted from the Community
Emergency Response Team (CERT) is specifically designed for businesses and is
similarly intended to build resilience, specifically within the business

Delivering opening remarks at the
start of the training sessions, DDM’s Information and Education Manager, Ms.
Philomena Robertson explained that the course exposes participants to the basic
principles of disaster management, disaster planning, conducting damage
assessments, designing and executing simulation exercises to test continuity
plans, First Aid and emergency communications as well as  health and safety requirements and strict
compliance with the BVI Labour Code.

“Our goal is to ensure that you are
better prepared to deal with any emergencies or potential hazard impacts in the
workplace. We want to build capacity within your organisation to ensure there’s
an adequate response mechanism in place to help save lives and minimise potential
damage to property,” Ms. Robertson told participants.

Acknowledging that the very nature of
Delta Petroleum’s operations is one that poses tremendous risks, the DDM
officer said it is imperative that calculated steps are taken to protect both
lives and property at all times.

“The information you acquire during
this training could save a life, could protect your workplace from experiencing
damage that could potentially put you out of a job. I encourage you to embrace
the opportunity provided for you, absorb all the material that is being
presented. Let’s create a resilient BVI, one business at a time,” she said.

DDM’s Training Officer, Ms. Carishma
Hicks commended DELTA Petroleum for being the first business to capitalise on
the opportunity to train its entire staff from its five locations on Tortola
and Virgin Gorda.

She noted that, “Through the BERT
initiative, the DDM is continuing efforts to build resilience within the
private sector, focusing specifically on the capacity within individual
businesses. This is the first of many sessions we will host and we encourage
the business community to get on board as quickly as possible.”

Delta’s Island Manager, Mr. Lennon
DaBreo welcomed the recognition as trailblazers in the business community and said
he is keen to see other businesses undertake the emergency training for their

“The BERT course is important for us
because of the industry we are in. We operate in a high risk field with
volatile products and it is beneficial for the staff to be prepared for any
eventuality. Staff will have individual responsibility but they will be
contributing collectively to reducing any potential loss of life and property,”
he stated.

Mr. DaBreo added, “Delta operates a
24-hour service and there is a high potential for emergencies to occur in the
work environment. It may be an incident related to a truck or it could be a
hazard that affects one of the plants. Whatever the scenario, if staff is
properly trained we are more likely to be able to minimise the impact of the

The DDM has partnered with the BVI Red
Cross to facilitate the BERT course. Director of the BVI Red Cross, Mrs. Helen
Frett underscored the history of collaboration between the two agencies.

“The DDM and BVI Red Cross share a
long-standing partnership, consistently pooling our resources to bring maximum
benefit to the people of the BVI. Havingh jointly facilitated the emergency
training at the community level, it is only natural to extend the partnership
to facilitate training for the business community,” Mrs. Frett said.

The next BERT workshop is scheduled
for October and is being organised in conjunction with the Rotary Club of Road
Town. To obtain more information on BERT or to sign up for the next available
course offering, please contact the DDM at 468 4200 or via email at
[email protected].