As the British Virgin Islands (BVI) braces for effects of the ‘extremely dangerous’ category 5 Hurricane Irma, the territory’s government has told residents to note that utility services are likely to be disconnected.
Those services are being provided by the BVI Electricity Corporation (BVIEC) as well as the Water and Sewerage Department.
Deputy General Manager at BVIEC Henry Creque said: “We are expecting to execute an ‘orderly shutdown’ of the network if any part of the system shows signs of being compromised. This means that we will turn off the power in geographical phases.”
The ‘orderly shutdown’ will be implemented contingent on the approach and force of the hurricane system.
Creque also explained that, if the hurricane impacts the north of the territory as predicted, Anegada and Virgin Gorda will be taken off the electricity grid first. They would be followed by East End and Road Town, and then West End and Jost Van Dyke.
The Government Information Service, in a media release this afternoon (September 5), explained that the shutdown plan is a provisional measure for wind gusts over 40 miles per hour.
It added that the purpose of the shutdown plan is to safeguard the electrical grid so that it does not sustain damage during the natural disaster, as well as to ensure the safety of persons from electrical hazards.
The public is being reminded that, with the absence of electricity, public water service will also be disconnected. Preparations should be made to store water, said Director of the Water and Sewerage Department Perline Scatliffe-Leonard.
“I am encouraging persons to start filling bottles and containers with water and ensure that containers are disinfected and cleaned before use,” she said.
Her department, in the meantime, listed the following best practices for storing water:
Collect water for at least three days, allocating one gallon of water per person per day.
Clean, disinfected bottles and containers (preferably plastic) before filling with water.
Cover and store water in a safe place.
Boil water for drinking and the preparation of foods before use.
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