With the official start to the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane season one day away, the BVI Red Cross is amplifying its hurricane preparedness levels.
Director of the BVI Red Cross Helen Frett told BVI News the organisation is stocking up on its contingencies, installing solar panels, and just recently trained a number of individuals in advance first aid.
Frett said their preparedness operations are being funded by a $3 million grant from the Department for International Development in the United Kingdom as well as other partners.
The organisation received the funds in 2017 and it is expected to fund a host of programmes over a three-year period
A total of 30 solar panels were installed this week at the Red Cross headquarters in Road T0wn.
According to Frett, in the aftermath of the 2017 hurricanes, the organisation was unable to function properly.
She is hoping to change their circumstances this time around and instead of operating ‘from a desk space’ at the National Emergency Operations Centre like they did last year, the organisation will be able to stand on its own.
“We are now installing our solar system because we are going to try to go green,” Frett explained.
Recalling the Red Cross’ circumstances following the 2017 hurricanes, Frett said: “We were using a small generator which, of course, could not carry the whole building but we could turn on some fans and use our computers. But initially, we were handicapped. We had no power and the place was so hot and uncomfortable.”
The BVI Red Cross Director also said the Church of the Latter Day Saints of Jesus Christ made a ‘generous donation’ to their first aid programme.
She said the religious group donated three new hospital beds, four wheelchairs, and eight mannequins — four are adult sized and the other four are infant sized.
Meanwhile, at least 36 individuals were recently trained in advance first aid.
The training took place on Anegada, Virgin Gorda, and Tortola from May 2 to 15.
Participants are now able to perform a number of resuscitation techniques.
Even before the start of the season, Subtropical Storm Alberto was identified as the first named storm for 2018. The weather system has already claimed lives and wreaked havoc in the region.
Weather forecasters are predicting this season could be ‘near or above normal’.
Last year, two category five hurricanes destroyed billions in infrastructure and claimed multiple lives in the region.
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