Governor and Premier urge residents to be smart and reduce risks

Tortola, British Virgin Islands, June 2nd, 2014 (DDM) - As the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season gets underway, there’s a unified call for residents of the British Virgin Islands (BVI) to Be Smart, Reduce Risks and Be Prepared.

 

In their respective messages to mark the official start of the season, His Excellency, Governor Boyd McCleary and Premier, Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith encouraged residents to take the necessary measures to reduce vulnerability.

Their clarion call to avoid complacency comes against the backdrop of the trough experienced in the BVI in early May which brought significant rainfall to the BVI, leading to the collapse of some retaining structures.

In his message, Governor McCleary noted the predictions for less than normal activity this season but encouraged preparedness nonetheless. “We cannot be complacent. The BVI remains vulnerable to hurricanes and other tropical storms. While we cannot eliminate that threat, we can reduce our risks by being prepared,” he stated.

The Governor offered a number of useful tips for home and business owners. “Preparedness starts with you – Be smart, Reduce Risks and Be prepared. Trim nearby trees; clear debris blocking drains; check home and auto insurances policies to ensure they are valid; install permanent window shutters; have your roofs inspected, store valuables in water-proof containers and know the location of the nearest emergency shelter,” he advised.

In his message, the Premier encouraged the population to heighten awareness, minimise risks and reduce vulnerability. “Hurricanes are natural events that cannot be avoided. However, by preparing adequately, and adhering to the advice of our disaster management officials, we can minimise potential damage.”

The Premier noted the ongoing work of the Department of Disaster Management and the Public Information and Education (PIE) Sub-Committee of the National Disaster Management Council to sensitise the public through a series of educational campaigns designed to prepare residents for hazards such as landslides, earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, and hurricanes.

Like the Governor, the Premier offered some salient advice to residents of the Territory. “As part of your preparation for the hurricane season be sure to make an emergency kit with appropriate items such as water, non-perishable food, batteries or a battery charger and a First Aid kit; develop a family emergency and evacuation plan; stay informed by obtaining official information via radio, television or online.”

Although forecasters predict less than normal activity given the likelihood of El Nino developing, they caution that there is still the possibility of strong cyclones developing. Much attention is being paid to areas around the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico where forecasters say there is potential for development very early in the season. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30.

The messages from the Governor and Premier can be heard and seen on local radio and television this week, starting on ZBVI 780 AM at 5:30 p.m.; CBN Channel 51 at 7:00 p.m.; JTV Channel 55 at 6:00, 7:25 and 8:00 p.m. The messages are also available via the DDM website and Facebook pages at www.bviddm.com and www.facebook.com/bvi.ddm.

CDEMA Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency. Resilience Way, Lower Estate, St. Michael Tel: (246) 434-4880, Fax: (246) 271-3660
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