BVI participates in regional pandemic simulation exercise
TORTOLA, BVI –The Humanitarian Allied Forces (FAHUM), with support from the United States Army Southern Command (US SouthCom) in coordination with Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA) and others, executed a regional exercise today for the Pandemic Influenza in the Caribbean and Central America.
The British Virgin Islands, along with other CDERA member states, participated in this regional exercise, which was designed to improve FAHUM’s exchange of information and skills across the Caribbean and Central American countries. The exercise provided an opportunity for the Virgin Islands to test the Territory’s plan and procedures for the Pandemic Influenza threat.
Friday’s exercise took the form of a desktop simulation and was executed in real time with all other CDERA member states and the Coordination of Natural Disaster Prevention in Central America (CEPREDENAC) states.
Feedback from participants indicated that the exercise allowed for an opportunity for them to test the local Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Plan and to identify issues that were not currently addressed in the Plan.
The exercise was the first of its kind to test the use of WebEOC tool which is a web-enabled crisis information management system that provides secure real-time information sharing to help emergency managers make sound decisions quickly during activation of National Emergency Operation Centres.
Between the periods of 2007-2008, four members of the DDM staff received training in the use of this tool and were able to utilize it fully during the desktop exercise.
FAHUM activities will continue in Antigua Barbuda and Grenada on April 21 where earthquake and tsunami exercises will be executed respectively. This will be followed by an After Action Review meeting in St Kitts/Nevis.
Local agencies participating in the drill included Royal Virgin Islands Police Force, Virgin Islands Fire and Rescue, BVI Health Services Authority, Ministry of Health and Social Development, Environmental Health Unit, and the Department of Disaster Management.