In an effort to enhance crisis response and disaster preparedness in the Virgin Islands, crisis experts from the United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) recently conducted a week-long training exercise with the Governor’s Office, the Department of Disaster Management, and various other agencies.

The culmination of the training was marked by a four-hour ‘semi-live’ crisis exercise on Thursday morning, where teams in London and the Virgin Islands participated simultaneously.

The simulated scenario centered around a hurricane impacting both Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands (BVI). The National Emergency Operations Centre was activated, with key response agencies actively engaging in the exercise.

The simulation necessitated the activation of two different national-level emergency response plans within the National Emergency Operations Centre. Participants were tasked with allocating limited resources, requesting additional assistance, and addressing cascading challenges arising from the initial hazard impact.

Governor Daniel Pruce commended the efforts of all participants in the training and simulation, expressing gratitude for the dedication shown by those in both the BVI and London. He emphasized the importance of collective involvement in crisis situations, underscoring the significance of thorough preparation. Governor Pruce highlighted the exercise as a demonstration of the UK’s commitment to supporting the BVI in the face of potential natural disasters.

Jasen Penn, Director of Disaster Management, emphasized the value of simulation exercises in reinforcing good practices and improving response plans. He stated, “Over the years, we have learned that it takes the whole Territory working together to respond effectively to a crisis. Having all our key sector leaders present for this exercise facilitated excellent collaboration and partnership.”

Throughout the week, FCDO trainers conducted sessions covering various critical topics such as information management, logistics, and crisis communications.