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FEMA, Coast Guard Meet With USVI Officials About Emergency Preparedness

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — Top territorial and federal officials gathered recently on St. Thomas to see how the federal government could better help the territory in a disaster.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region II Acting Administrator Thomas Fargione met with Gov. Albert Bryan and other leaders during the monthly Emergency Management Council meeting at the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA) facility on St. Thomas.

The council discussed ongoing efforts to strengthen the territory’s ability to respond to a disaster while addressing complexities in the areas of medical evacuations, airport and seaport operations, communications and commodity distribution.

After the meeting, Fargione reviewed the issues in greater detail with VITEMA Director Daryl Jaschen.

“I am thankful for the opportunity to get an on-the-ground look at disaster preparedness and response with FEMA’s partners in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Fargione said. “I’m particularly excited to see the progress the territory has made to build its capacity and strengthen its posture for disaster response. Rest assured, FEMA Region 2 stands ready to deploy its resources to support the territory at a moment’s notice this hurricane season.”

“I’m confident in our preparedness efforts, and Acting Administrator Fargione stands ready to continue our long-standing and close partnership with FEMA,” Bryan said. “Residents can be reassured that together with our federal partners, we are ready and resilient for the hurricane season.”

Jaschen emphasized the importance of federal and territorial partnerships for successful emergency management.

“Our recent Capstone event focused on a major hurricane response to the territory and included additional local agencies, nongovernmental organizations and federal partners,” Jaschen said. “When lives are at risk and time is limited, planning and response efforts must be maximized. Quickly gathering information, identifying gaps, and providing sound recommendation to leaders is paramount for our teams.”

Be prepared

FEMA is urging Virgin Islanders to prepare now for tropical storms and hurricanes before watches and warnings arise during the peak of the season in late summer.

Review emergency plans for your families and businesses, get informed and stay alert. Focus on alternatives for medical needs such as dialysis treatment and diabetes as well as prescriptions. Review insurance policies for your homes, businesses, and vehicles.

For more information in emergency planning, visit www.ready.gov/plan.

Virgin Islanders age 60 and older and persons with disabilities may register with the Virgin Islands Department of Human Services’ Elder, Dependent Adult and Disabled Persons Disaster Registry.

To register, call 340-774-0930 ext. 4018 on St. Thomas, 340-776-6334 on St. John and 340-773-6630 on St. Croix. You can download and fill out a registry form at http://dhs.gov.vi/home/index.html.

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