BVI News

Emergency response agencies to conduct mass rescue exercises in BVI this week

Police Commissioner Michael Matthews will serve as Incident Commander in an actual mass rescue operation.

Emergency response agencies across the British Virgin Islands will be conducting two mass rescue maritime exercises in the territory this week.

A government-commissioned media release dated November 11 said the exercises will help the territory evaluate and improve its existing mass rescue plan.

“We will identify any gaps or challenges with it now so that, if the worst were to happen, we know that we can protect the lives of BVI residents and visitors,” the Commissioner of Police Michael Matthews stated.

The agencies which will take part in the exercise include the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force, the BVI Ports Authority, the BVI Health Services Authority, the Virgin Islands Search And Rescue (VISAR) and the Department of Disaster Management (DDM).

Commissioner Matthews said that the participation of all the agencies in this exercise is critical to the success of a real-life mass casualty rescue mission.

He said: “I’m pleased that so many different agencies will be participating in this exercise, as good coordination between different responders is key to building an effective and efficient response to any incident.”

“The BVI has strong plans in place for different emergencies including incidents with large numbers of injuries, but testing these plans with the police and other agencies who would respond to such an event is crucial,” added Commissioner Matthews who will act as Incident Commander in an actual mass rescue operation.

By conducting this exercise, the Virgin Islands Shipping Registry will be allowed to maintain its status as a Category-one jurisdiction.

The exercises will be facilitated by members of the US Coast Guard, UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency, and the DDM. They will be providing an overview for all the local participating agencies to cover the BVI’s disaster management system and established mass rescue protocols.

Activities are scheduled to begin on Wednesday, November 13 and conclude on Thursday, November 14.

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