The BVI Finance Breakfast Forum welcomed experts from the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) to discuss hurricane and disaster preparedness with the business community.
The webinar that took place on June 12 aimed to equip attendees with essential knowledge and tools to navigate through natural disasters, focusing on key topics, including preparing for the 2023 hurricane season, the "Be Disaster Ready" campaign, and how to prepare business continuity plans.
The forum featured presentations from Ms. Michelle Ambrose, the Planning and Preparedness Manager at DDM, who provided valuable insights into emergency preparedness, emphasising the importance of individual and business readiness. Chrystal Kanyuck-Abel, the Information and Education Manager shared advice on creating business continuity plans to ensure operational resilience during and after disasters and Mr. Andrew Jackson, Meteorologist at DDM, presented the forecast for the 2023 hurricane season, shedding light on the expected weather patterns and potential risks.
Mr. Jackson highlighted that the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), has predicted that the 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season to be near normal. Factors such as El Niño and above-average Atlantic Ocean temperatures contribute to the forecast. He also said that the NOAA estimated a range of 12 to 17 storms, with five to nine potentially becoming hurricanes, and one to four of those reaching major hurricane status.
During the Forum, attendees were also introduced to valuable tools, like the BVI Weather Stem, which provides access to real-time weather information. Ms. Ambrose and Mrs. Abel emphasised that staying informed and prepared is crucial for personal and business safety during disasters. The DDM website and social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter were highlighted as essential sources for credible and accurate information.
The DDM experts stressed the significance of emergency kits and their customisation for both home and business use. These kits should include essential supplies, such as food, water, medication, communication devices, flashlights, batteries, and materials for sheltering in place. Regular inspections of properties, including shutters, drainage systems, doors, windows, and generators, were advised to ensure they are in proper working condition and secure.
The DDM experts also highlighted the importance of reviewing insurance policies to understand coverage and potential reimbursements in case of damage. The panel said that to support families in need, they often collaborate efforts with organisations like the BVI Red Cross and the Social Development Department.
Ms. Ambrose then highlighted the need to consider various scenarios and develop comprehensive emergency plans that account for all individuals, including children and those with special needs. “Regular drills and exercises are encouraged to practice safe responses during high-stress situations. The DDM offers services, such as vulnerability assessments and assistance in developing tailored plans for businesses, homes, and other organisations.”
As part of the ongoing efforts to promote preparedness, Mrs. Abel mentioned upcoming events, including the International ShakeOut earthquake exercise in October. This exercise encourages businesses, families, and schools to practice safe responses during earthquakes.
The DDM offers valuable resources, templates, and printed materials to support preparedness efforts. Interested individuals and businesses can access these resources by contacting the DDM office.
For more information and to stay up-to-date on disaster preparedness, please visit the Department of Disaster Management website at www.bviddm.com.
To view the webinar, please click here.
For further information please contact:
Marketing and Media Relations Coordinator
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