A 3 month campaign has been launched to promote petroleum and Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) safety in the Virgin Islands.
The Department for Disaster Management (DDM) has partnered with Sol Petroleum to launch the ‘Petroleum Safety- The SMART Way’ Campaign which aims to increase the level of public awareness on how best to handle petroleum products to minimise the risk of injury to self, property and others.
Director of the DDM, Ms. Sharleen DaBreo spoke at the launch of the campaign, and highlighted the important role of public-private partnerships for effective disaster management. Ms DaBreo commended Sol for their support in ensuring that the public is aware of the safety measures that are needed when handling petroleum products and LPG.
Ms. DaBreo stated, “The reality is that the public sector must work around limited financial and human resources to achieve our goals and so we must engage our private partners in a strategic way to encourage safety and raise awareness of hazards which have the potential to become disasters.”
The Director of the DDM added, “The safety of our people and our islands is a critical aspect of disaster management and is an important part of Sol’s operations. Together we will work to minimise the risk of injury to people and protect our environment by ensuring that persons are aware of what to do and how to react, if they are handling petroleum products or using LPG gases.”
Sol Petroleum’s BVI General Manager, Liz Wyatt emphasised the need for safe practices.
Ms. Wyatt said, “We encounter hazards and perilous situations every day, some minor and some major, many of us may not even realize that we have placed ourselves in a dangerous situation…Safety is not a gadget that we can buy, it is a state of mind. We often say hindsight is 20/20, but foresight can avoid incidences, misfortunes and regrets”.
She stated, “We are spending millions to upgrade and replace aging equipment. The foundation of our business is based on the principles of health, safety and environment. Much of what we are doing you may not see, such as new pipelines, new tanks, new equipment, but it is there to ensure your safety and protect the health and environment of the Virgin Islands.”
Minister of Communication and Works, the Honourable Mark Vanterpool expressed his satisfaction with the campaign and the value it will bring to the people of the British Virgin Islands.
Minister Vanterpool added, “I welcome this initiative, as a very important step in ensuring that safe procedures are being followed, when persons are handling gasoline, diesel, LPG and other petroleum products. We have all seen or heard how flammable and life threatening these products can be, yet many persons handle or are exposed to these products on a daily basis and are not fully aware of the risks.
Honourable Vanterpool was particularly pleased that the campaign will be addressing the safe transportation of petroleum products in light of the cost to the Government when oil spills occur.
The ‘Petroleum Safety- The SMART Way’ Campaign will promote best practices for handling petroleum products, raise awareness about the dangers of the misuse of the products and encourage the best ways to handle and transport petroleum
products to reduce the impact on the environment and to reduce the risk of spills and fires.
As part of the campaign activities, an expert from Sol Barbados will visit Tortola to facilitate a training session on April 11th, 2016 for government entities that deal with property inspections, independent service station operators and key stakeholders.