The Virgin Islands Fire and Rescue Service, Royal
Virgin Islands Police Force and Department of Disaster Management have issued a
joint call for residents of the BVI to adopt safety as a key watchword this
Christmas holiday season.
While acknowledging the season as a time of happiness
and celebration with family and friends, the departments encourage all to
ensure that personal safety and that of property remain in constant focus.
The departments have issued a number of helpful tips
focusing on fire safety, personal and property safety, safety at sea and pool
safety which they hope will help to prevent persons from neglecting safety as a
The fire safety tips include not placing Christmas
trees in locations that block exits; keeping trees, gifts, paper and
decorations away from heat sources; testing smoke alarms weekly; installing
outdoor lights with bulbs hanging down to prevent moisture accumulation; not
using outdoor lights and cords indoors; avoiding the running of cords under
carpets or between doors and doorposts and turning out lights and outing
candles while out of the room or sleeping.
Fire extinguishers, escape ladders, smoke alarms,
emergency kits and flashlights have also been identified as great gift ideas.
With regard to personal safety and that of property,
residents are urged to be mindful of the heightened activity during the festive
season and to remain vigilant and immediately report all suspicious activity to
the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force.
Shoppers should use credit or debit cards for purchases to
avoid carrying large amounts of cash; carry purses and bags close to the body;
be aware of their surroundings at all times and place all gifts and packages out of sight,
preferably in the trunk of the vehicle.
home, gifts should be kept in areas not seen from doorways and windows, bushes
and shrubbery should be trimmed to eliminate hiding places for thieves and
exterior motion lighting should be installed.
operators are encouraged to keep unused doors locked; keep only necessary cash
in the register; vary the schedule and route for bank deposits daily; and
advertise security alarm systems with signs posted in visible locations.
safety is another critical area and the departments have also provided tips in
persons using swimming pools and those going on sailing trips should check
conditions before entering the water; pay attention to safety notices and
warning flags; do not swim when drinking; never swim alone; keep children under
active supervision at all times, ensure that children and inexperienced
swimmers wear life jackets and remain alert while enjoying the water.
caught in a rip current presents a potential hazard and persons who find
themselves in such a situation should stay calm and not fight the current.
Instead, they should swim parallel to the shore until free of the current, then
turn and swim toward the shore. If unable to get to the shore, float or tread
water while heading towards the shore and draw attention to yourself by waving
and calling for help.
Though committed to serving the BVI as emergency responders,
the Virgin Islands Fire
and Rescue Service, Royal Virgin Islands Police Force and Department of
Disaster Management encourages persons to take responsibility for their own
safety and help to ensure that the BVI records a safe and disaster free holiday season.