After roughly two years of relying primarily on their mobile devices, emergency officers across some government departments now have a more resilient way of communicating in the event of a disaster.
A media release from government said the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) will distribute 75 new VHF radio handsets to critical locations across the territory.
Some of these departments include Immigration, Customs, Fire & Rescue Services and offices on the sister islands.
Considering the onslaught of Hurricane Irma that disrupted communications between the sovereign islands, Emergency Communications Manager at the DDM Jasen Penn said being equipped with these handsets is extremely important, especially during the present hurricane season.
“Some of these offices, which are vital to making sure that different areas of the Territory maintain contact after an emergency, have been relying heavily on their mobile devices since Irma. The radio network is now much more resilient and we want to make sure that it’s accessible to those who need it ahead of the height of the Atlantic Hurricane Season.”
Penn also said new and upgraded repeaters will be installed on Tortola and the sister islands to help improve the territory’s transmission network by providing better communication between the islands.
Of the 75 handsets, 45 were purchased with funds from the Caribbean Development Bank’s $65 million Recovery and Rehabilitation loan which was acquired by government after the 2017 disasters. The remaining 30 were donated by the Governor’s Office.
The DDM is currently conducting a VHF Radio training course which is scheduled to continue during the month of August.
News of the new VHF radio handsets follow an announcement by Commissioner of Police Michael Matthews that a number of receivers, transponders and repeaters were soon to be fitted across the territory to improve coverage between the RVIPF and other emergency services.
This is a step forward by the Force since the previous radio mast system used was destroyed during the 2017 disasters.
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