On the heels of a reported uptick of seismic activity in close proximity of the Territory, the Department of Disaster Management is reminding residents of the Virgin Islands to #BeReady for Earthquakes throughout the year as the Virgin Islands is a seismically active area. 

In a recent statement, Director of Disaster Management Jasen Penn explained that while a majority of the earthquakes recorded in the Territory are not felt by persons, they are frequent. 

For example, from December 1st to January 9th the Puerto Rico Seismic Network, which monitors the surrounding areas, recorded 76 earthquakes with the largest being a 4.35 magnitude event on Christmas Day. 

Penn noted that the Department of Disaster Management works closely with partners such as PRSN, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre, the University of Puerto Rico Strong Motion Programme and the United States Geological Survey to closely monitor such activity.  He added that agreements with these partners allow the department to rapidly receive and disseminate safety information regarding threats that originate from distant earthquakes. 

Should any event be deemed a significant threat, members of the public will be notified via radio, press announcements, social media, the DDM Alert App and if necessary the Early Warning Sirens.

The community is reminded that earthquakes can occur at any time, and are urged to familiarise themselves with the following tips. 

Should an earthquake take place, it is important to remain calm. If you are inside, stay there; move away from ceiling fans, glass windows and doors or anything that can fall.

If possible, get under a sturdy piece of furniture, cover your head and hold on.

If outdoors, move into an open area away from trees, buildings, utility wires or poles.

During an earthquake, the more you move, the more likely you are to be hurt. Refrain from entering or exiting any building during the shaking.

Disaster preparedness resources such as emergency plan templates, emergency shelter lists and continuity planning templates for businesses are available on the Department’s website, www.bviddm.com