January 22, 2024143Views

Virgin Islands residents are encouraged to create or revise disaster plans as they plan their activities for 2024.

Director of Disaster Management, Mr. Jasen Penn said that the turning of the year is an opportunity to reflect on lessons learned and improve going forward.

“Last year, the Virgin Islands experienced a number of minor earthquakes, a major flooding event, and two close passes of tropical cyclones,” Mr. Penn said, adding, “Having an action plan for how to deal with these and other hazards helps protect persons and property.”

The Director encouraged residents to make use of free templates for emergency plans for schools, businesses and families available on the Department of Disaster Management’s (DDM) website,

“In the event of an emergency, having an agreed upon plan allows you to bypass panic and take speedy and effective action. Investing the time to sit with your team or your family to agree on an emergency plan can save lives,” Mr. Penn said.

The Director stated that effective family emergency plans include considerations for shelter-in-place, safeguarding the home, evacuation locations and routes, critical contact information and details for how the family will reconnect if separated. Plans for businesses should also include procedures for shutting down the business and re-opening after an emergency.

Once the plan is in place, persons should test their procedures to ensure they are a good fit, Mr. Penn added. Persons can exercise on their own or join a national-level exercise such as the Caribe Wave tsunami exercise on March 21.

The Department of Disaster Management works to foster comprehensive disaster management and climate change adaptation as a way of life in the Virgin Islands.