The Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA) is holding the 2015 Annual All Hazards Preparedness Expo this month, featuring first responder demonstrations, family fun and entertainment, and information and handouts from local, federal and private sector representatives on how to be ready when disaster strikes.
The All Hazards Preparedness Expo is part of VITEMA’s ongoing education campaign to raise awareness about disaster preparedness and recovery. The Expo will be held:
- Friday, Oct. 23, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Frank Powell Park, Cruz Bay, St. John.
- Saturday, Oct. 24, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Christiansted National Park Historical Site, St. Croix.
- Saturday, Oct. 24, 5 – 10 p.m., VITEMA Headquarters, Estate Nisky, St. Thomas.
On St. John, the Expo begins with an invocation by Pastor Carlyle O. Sampson of the Nazareth Lutheran Churches followed by opening remarks from St. Johnian Mahlon “Koko” Pickering, well-known quelbe musician and VI Pot Authority police officer. More than a dozen organizations will provide handouts related to disaster preparedness and recovery. Dynamic Dancers are slated to perform and DJ-LS1 will provide musical entertainment.
On St. Croix, the Expo kicks off at 9 a.m. with a First Responder Motorcade from the Frederiksted Government Parking Lot to the National Park Historical Site in Christiansted. At 10 a.m., a brief opening ceremony will be held followed by first responder demonstrations at:
- 10:30 a.m. - Extrication by St. Croix Rescue, National Pak Service (NPS) Parking Lot.
- 11 a.m. - Rooftop Rescue by VI Fire Service and St. Croix Rescue at the Fort.
- 11:30 a.m. - VIPD K-9 Unit Takedown on NPS lawn in front of the Customs House.
- 12 p.m. - Water Rescue by Department of Planning & Natural Resources and VI Rescue, in the Christiansted Harbor.
- 12:30 – Building an Emergency Supply Kit by VITEMA, at the bandstand.
The St. Croix expo will also feature live music from noon to 3 p.m. by Digital Band, kid-friendly activities provided by the VI National Guard and boat rides around the Christiansted harbor offered by DPNR’s marine unit.
On St. Thomas, the Expo opens 5 p.m. with an Emergency Management and First Responder Parade and Motorcade from Addelita Cancryn School to VITEMA’s headquarters at Estate Nisky. The Ivanna Eudora Kean High School Marching Band and the Charlotte Amalie High School Marching Band will lead the parade followed by a first responder motorcade. Throughout the evening, VITEMA will host Open House tours of its headquarters and 911 Emergency Communications Center. Live music from 7 to 10 p.m. provided by All Access Band.
“The 2015 Expo theme is “Building Resiliency” and it’s really a call to action to be ready before a disaster strikes,” said VITEMA Director Mona Barnes. “The Virgin Islands community is threatened by many hazards — hurricanes, flooding, drought, wildfires, earthquakes, and tsunamis. There is no season for a disaster. It can happen at any time. It’s so important that everyone understands that for us to be resilient after a disaster, we must first be prepared.”
“Many of our key partners in emergency management are participating in this year’s expo and they’re all set to provide the public with information on how to be prepared. I encourage everyone to come out with their families and learn more about what it means to be disaster-ready.”
Government agencies, non-government organizations and local businesses participating in the 2015 Expo include:
VI Police Department
VI Fire Service
VI Water & Power Authority
Dept. of Tourism
Dept. of Health
Dept. of Licensing & Consumer Affairs
Dept. of Human Services
Dept. of Planning & Natural Resources
Dept. of Labor- OSHA
VI Waste Management Authority
VI National Guard
US Coast Guard
National Park Service
American Red Cross
St. Croix Rescue
St. Thomas Rescue
St. Croix Animal Welfare Center
Puerto Rico Seismic Network
CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) & Teen CERT
Civil Air Patrol
Gallows Bay Hardware
VITEMA extends a whole-hearted ‘thank you’ to the National Park Service for its continued support and to the Expo’s major sponsors — Innovative, Choice Wireless, WAPA, the Department of Tourism, the Department of Health, the Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs and the VI Lottery.