In anticipation of the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season on 1st June, the British Virgin Islands Health Services Authority (BVIHSA) has activated its disaster preparedness plan.

The activation is part of the organization’s readiness mandate and also in light of forecasts predicting increased tropical storm activity.

On 4th April, the Tropical Weather and Climate Research Team at Colorado State University (CSU) released their annual seasonal forecast which anticipates a total of 23 named tropical storms throughout the season. It was predicted that 11 of these storms will develop into hurricanes, with five reaching major hurricane status, classified as Category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

Notwithstanding, the predictions, the BVIHSA announced its readiness in a recent release. This position was cemented by the completion of a readiness training that was held between the period of 30th April and 1st May.

The exercise focused on enhancing the response capabilities of the BVIHSA’s Infrastructure Department, and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Unit. The training was led by the BVIHSA’s Disaster Preparedness Manager Rodney Brathwaite and facilitated by Jorge Ortiz from Western Shelter System.

A major part of the recent training sessions centered on the setup and operation of the BVIHSA’s field Hospital; which is equipped to expand the Dr. D. Orlando Smith hospital’s capacity in the case of a disaster or mass casualty event.

While applauding the recently concluded training exercise Mr. Brathwaite noted, “The safety and well-being of our community are paramount, especially during periods of heightened weather-related risks. Therefore, by bolstering our readiness and ensuring that our teams are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge, we aim to mitigate potential impacts and effectively respond to any emergencies that may arise.”

Minister of Health and Social Development Hon. Vincent Wheatley visited the field hospital and observed aspects of the training. During that time Minister Wheatley emphasized the government’s commitment to supporting initiatives aimed at strengthening the Territory’s resilience and safeguarding the welfare of its residents.

“As we approach the hurricane season, it is crucial that we remain vigilant and prepared. The collaborative efforts of BVIHSA and its partners reflect our collective dedication to ensuring the safety and security of our community.”

With preparations well underway and a commitment to readiness firmly in place, the BVI Health Services Authority stands ready to navigate the challenges of the upcoming hurricane season and continue its mission of serving the community in times of need.