The Sea Cow’s Bay Community has benefited from disaster risk reduction micro projects implemented by the BVI Red Cross (BVIRC) with support from Alternative Community Transformation (ACT) which is a community-based organisation, Territorial Search and Rescue Team (TSART) and the Department of Disaster Management (DDM).
Over the past several weeks a number of programmes have been conducted in Sea Cow’s Bay aimed at creating a safer community, and strengthening the resilience of its residents.
The most recent initiative was the installation of markers to highlight the location of metal piles in the Bay, thereby reducing the likelihood of boating collisions.The installation of these markers was organised by ACT and conducted by the BVIRC and TSART on Sunday, November 13.
Disaster Risk Reduction Manager at the BVIRC, Mr. Jason Lyons explained that this problem was highlighted by residents during a Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment (VCA) which was conducted to gauge people’s exposure to and capacity to resist hazard impacts.
Mr. Lyons said, “Sea Cow’s Bay is a traditional boating community and one of the risks identified during the VCA was derelict, and apparently abandoned unmarked metal piles in the Bay which boaters would regularly run into.”
To curb this problem, Mr. Lyons explained, “The community suggested placing markers on the piles to make them more visible to boaters and others in the area. With support from the BVIRC Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) programme, the lights were purchased and arrangements made with TSART to provide technical support for the transportation and installation of the markers.”
The installation of the markers follows the recently conducted Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training which resulted in the formation of a new CERT in Sea Cow’s Bay. The CERT Training was conducted from October 17 to 24 by the BVIRC and the DDM with support from the Virgin Islands Fire and Rescue Service. The newly formed team is the second CERT to be established in Sea Cow’s Bay.
The Disaster Risk Reduction Manager at BVIRC stated, “When the VCA was conducted the community members also identified other risks such as blocked ghuts, overhanging tree branches and the lack of skilled disaster response personnel in the community. The CERT training, which was funded under the BVIRCDRR programme provided participants with the necessary skills and techniques which empowers them to address the challenges identified. The DDM is also hoping to address the other concerns raised by the community through future project interventions”.
DDM’s Training Officer, Ms. Carishma Hicks added, “Fortunately for Sea Cow’s Bay, the Community now has two emergency response teams which means the community has immediate access to a cadre of persons trained in basic lifesaving and support techniques, such as fire suppression, search and rescue, disaster medical operations, first aid and CPR”.
Ms. Hicks said, “This is all part of our collaborative approach to build the capacity of communities to reduce their disaster risk. The more CERT members a community has, the greater its chances of a quick recovery and fewer injuries and deaths after an emergency”.
Emergency response teams have been established in several communities throughout the Territory including The Valley and North Sound, Virgin Gorda; Jost Van Dyke; Anegada; West End, Cane Garden Bay, Carrot Bay, Sea Cows Bay, Road Town,Purcell and East End on Tortola.
Refresher courses are also conducted for established teams every two years to ensure that the skills are not lost.