Disaster Management Concludes Lantex Simulation Drill

By Department of Disaster Management, BVI
Thu, 2 Apr 2009, 12:09

Tortola, Tuesday, April 2 (DDM) - First responders along with public and private sector agencies completed the LANTEX (North Atlantic Tsunami Exercise) drill this morning. The Virgin Islands was one of many disaster management agencies along the Atlantic Coast that participated in the conjured earthquake and tsunami exercise. This morning’s scenario created a pseudo earthquake, measuring 8.6 in magnitude off the northern coast of Puerto Rico that generated a destructive tsunami in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Director of the Department of Disaster Management, Sharleen DaBreo said "The exercise this morning was good practice for the Territory. It exposed some of our weaknesses which lets us know what areas we need to work on. She added, "Even at our Department there are areas we realise that must be improved to provide effective response."

Joyce Thomas of the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) was one of two evaluators flown in for the purpose of the exercise. Thomas evaluated the Peebles Hospital and their evacuation plan. "They knew exactly what to do and moved promptly." Thomas said. However she added that a better system of notification of threats should be implemented as the alert sirens presently used cannot be heard in the hospital. Thomas added, "Given that the alert system cannot be heard in the building, staff should better utilise their VHF radios to get information." She also suggested that a better evacuation plan should be made for the building. "Staff knew to evacuate to the back of the new hospital, but the evacuation route was unclear."

This exercise provided an opportunity for individuals and organisations to test their plans and procedures, operational lines of communications and to promote earthquake/tsunami awareness and preparedness. DDM has continuously worked with agencies throughout last year and this year to update their plans. "We have made a special effort to ensure disaster plans in the Territory are regularly updated. This year we are implementing a system where agencies will actually be given a grade on their response to events like this morning’s drill in order to address any short comings in their plans." Dabreo said.

DaBreo said she hopes that this exercise and others planned for the year will help to improve the overall effectiveness of response agencies as well as educate the public on threats facing the Territory and have private residents be more active participants in disaster preparedness. A complete report and debriefing of the exercise will be conducted in the coming weeks.

Agencies participating in the drill included Royal Virgin Islands Police Force, Fire and Rescue, Health Services, Water & Sewerage Department, Public Works Department, Tourist Board, Government Information Services, BVI Electricity Cooperation, BVI Red Cross, as well as private businesses Ogier, Harney’s and Road Town Wholesale. The public is encouraged to log on to DDM’s website at www.bviddm.com and fill out an online survey of the exercise. This survey will be collated and used to assist the Department and other agencies in improving their alert and response capabilities.

For information, please contact:
Department of Disaster Management
#3 Wailing Road MacNamara
Tortola, British Virgin Islands
Ph. 284-468-4200 Fax: 284-494-2024
E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.