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Magistrate's Court staff & prisoners left behind in Tsunami drill

- Gov't offices & schools evacuated in DDM simulation exercise
Persons exiting the Magistrate's Court at John's Hole following the sounding of the Tsunami warning today, March 25, 2015. Photo: VINO
Government workers leaving the Central Administration Complex during the evacuation exercise today March 25, 2015. Photo: VINO
Government workers leaving the Central Administration Complex during the evacuation exercise today March 25, 2015. Photo: VINO
Speaking to this news site today, Director of the DDM Sharleen S. DaBreo said, “The simulation went well actually. We were able to test ten different components of the National Emergency Broadcast and Alert System and this year we had a number of private sector organisations unlike previous years.
Speaking to this news site today, Director of the DDM Sharleen S. DaBreo said, “The simulation went well actually. We were able to test ten different components of the National Emergency Broadcast and Alert System and this year we had a number of private sector organisations unlike previous years." Photo: DDM
Persons exiting the Central Administration Complex. Photo: VINO
Persons exiting the Central Administration Complex. Photo: VINO
Heeding to the sound of the siren which was heard around 11:00 am today. Photo: VINO
Heeding to the sound of the siren which was heard around 11:00 am today. Photo: VINO
More Government staff leaving upon the sound of the siren. Photo: VINO
More Government staff leaving upon the sound of the siren. Photo: VINO
And more heed the sound of the tsunami warning. Photo: VINO
And more heed the sound of the tsunami warning. Photo: VINO
Persons streaming down the fire escape of the Central Administration Complex today. Photo: VINO
Persons streaming down the fire escape of the Central Administration Complex today. Photo: VINO
More persons making their way to safety. Photo: VINO
More persons making their way to safety. Photo: VINO
Workers of the Central Administration Complex heading for higher grounds. Photo: VINO
Workers of the Central Administration Complex heading for higher grounds. Photo: VINO
Headed to safety following the tsunami warning. Photo: VINO
Headed to safety following the tsunami warning. Photo: VINO
The Government's Central Administrative Complex was one of the buildings that took part in the simulation. Photo: VINO
The Government's Central Administrative Complex was one of the buildings that took part in the simulation. Photo: VINO
This wheelchair bound person had to be assisted in the evacuation process. Photo: VINO
This wheelchair bound person had to be assisted in the evacuation process. Photo: VINO
This gathering of persons comprise those who were in the court and those who were in the nearby Eslyn Henley Richiez Learning Centre. Photo: VINO
This gathering of persons comprise those who were in the court and those who were in the nearby Eslyn Henley Richiez Learning Centre. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – The Department of Disaster Management today March 25, 2015 carried out its National Earthquake/Tsunami Simulation Exercise: Carib Wave/LANTEX 2015 to assess the readiness of the territory in the eventuality of such disasters happening.

The exercise saw Government offices and other institutions evacuating staff and visitors to proceed to higher ground.

This news site was stationed at the Government Administration Complex and saw what could be described as an orderly but rapid evacuation of persons who exited the building and proceeded to an area some distance away in order to make their way to higher ground.

Prisoners & court staff left behind

However, our staff stationed at the Magistrate’s Court saw a different scenario at the sound of the alarm.

“It was noted that only the Senior Magistrate and her security police officer were whisked away from the court. All other court staff remained behind. It is this news site’s understanding that ideally everyone including prisoners, persons appearing for matters and other visitors to the court should have been informed to run for higher ground. However, the Magistrate though did say "Tsunami drill… I have to adjourn sine die.”

According to the DDM, this exercise was conducted to assist earthquake and tsunami preparedness efforts throughout the Territory.

“Recent tsunamis and their associated earthquakes, such as the 2004 Indian Ocean, 2009 Samoa, 2010 Haiti and Chile, and 2011 Japan, attest to the importance of proper planning for earthquake and tsunami response. This exercise will simulate a large earthquake (magnitude 8.5) located north of Panama which triggers a submarine landslide which in turn generates a tsunami that will impact the BVI,” said a bulletin from the DDM.

This exercise, which was organised under the framework of the United National Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) Intergovernmental Coordination Group for Tsunami and Other Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions (ICG CARIBE EWS) and US National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program (NTHMP), will include the U.S. and Canadian Gulf; east coasts as well and the entire Caribbean Region.

“For the BVI, the exercise will allow for testing of the operational readiness of the National Emergency Alert and Broadcast System and provide opportunities for agencies to test their earthquake/tsunami plans and procedures,” the DDM bulletin said.

Simulation went well- DDM

Speaking to this news site today, Director of the DDM Sharleen S. DaBreo said, “The simulation went well actually. We were able to test ten different components of the National Emergency Broadcast and Alert System and this year we had a number of private sector organisations unlike previous years; and we had full support and full participation by Government and we had a number of schools that tested their plans and procedures.”

“We are now preparing our report. We have had our debrief and evaluators have indicated a number of best practices that they saw could be replicated for other schools and other organisations. So we have captured those. We have captured the things that worked really well this year and we have looked at the improvements over last year...so we have that information available and we have highlighted some specific things that we need to work on with the various organisations,” she said.

DaBreo said that over the next few months there will be meetings with the various organisations to address some of the shortfalls witnessed during today’s exercise.

11 Responses to “Magistrate's Court staff & prisoners left behind in Tsunami drill”

  • poor vg (25/03/2015, 16:19) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    you cannot hear the siren at The Baths or even at the BFEC primary and secondary. Poor VG. Not a person moved from the police station
  • dough maker (25/03/2015, 16:22) Like (1) Dislike (8) Reply
    We lost a lot of man-hours today.
  • Weak Link (25/03/2015, 16:32) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I recall on the last simulation the tsunami warning in the first instance is received at the Road Town Police station via a fax machine. Questions about the machine not working, a shortage of government paper etc were not answered at that time. I hope this has been updated and the human factor removed.
  • self fish (25/03/2015, 16:33) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
    So only her life important eh?
  • JO (25/03/2015, 18:58) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply

    There was no one from the court where I was, only Red Cross, Eslyn Henley Richie Some I recognised from Internal Audit and some from in the office across by the stop light. Not even the school ASPS and ES evacuated...

    • Neighbour to the school's (25/03/2015, 21:57) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
      To JO. Before you comment get your facts straight before commenting. ESPPS did evacuated the school premises and head for Horse Path road. People like you just like to run y'all mouth and don't know nothing. And don't mix up Enid Scatliffe with Althea Scatliffe. ASPS just never response to the tsunami drill. So if you want things to talk and you child/ children in ASPS call Hon. Myron Walwyn and let him know.
  • do better (25/03/2015, 20:33) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Did the Department Head inform the staff of the drill? Did the Department Head ensure the safety of staff by ensuring that they all evacuated the building? What would have happened to the prisoners if this was real? We have to be more serious in the BVI and take our jobs more seriously. Inquiring minds want to know........ The Magistrate alone was taken away, so is that the most essential officer and the others are non essential?
  • Yes (25/03/2015, 20:40) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Strupps
  • SMH (26/03/2015, 08:18) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    I done see this place in for a rude awakening. Nothing is ever taken seriously & when u see the real danger on our doorsteps many lives will be lost
  • SMH (26/03/2015, 15:48) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    why doesn't ddm broadcast the all clear announcement from the same speakers that make the wailing sound, instead they had people waiting for an hour and having to call them directly to know when the drill was over
    • @ SMH (26/03/2015, 17:00) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      We received the broad cast message at Jose Hill through Fire and Rescue


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