Press Release

Ministry of Health & Social Development
Release Date:
Wednesday, 22 February 2023 - 3:16pm

His Majesty's Prison hosted a training session for emergency first responders to develop a plan of action for dealing with fires on the prison grounds.

The training session, held on Tuesday, February 21, was presided over by Deputy Superintendent Joe Wilcox. The session featured a representative from the Virgin Islands Fire and Rescue Service, the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force, the Emergency Medical Service, the Department of Disaster Management and His Majesty’s Prison.

Deputy Superintendent John Wilcox said the first responders decided to come together to formulate a plan to best tackle an incident that may require emergency services on the prison grounds. He noted that during emergencies, the safety and security of the staff and prisoners along with protecting the prison's infrastructure are of paramount importance; hence developing a plan of action is desperately needed.

The plan of action, according to Mr. Wilcox, is to provide guidance to allow the safe and secure operations at the prison in the event of a fire or any other large scale disaster. The plan focuses on strategies to reduce damage to infrastructure while fulfilling the prison’s role in keeping in custody people committed by the courts while minimising possible injuries or loss of life to staff and inmate.

Mr. Wilcox said, “We need to understand what the fire brigade needs from the prison to ensure they feel safe in cases of emergency. We also need to know what the medical staff wants because we understand that not everybody feels safe rushing into the prisons. That is what this training is about; how to deal with major incidents that could potentially lead to mass casualty.”

During the session, the first responders looked at security challenges that might arise from any major disasters during and after contact is made with prisoners. They also focused on risk assessment strategies that can guide how to proceed in unique situations.

The Deputy Superintendent said he hopes that within two months, a simulation drill can be held at the prison in Balsam Ghut so first responders, prison staff and prisoners can get a full understanding of the response process.

Mr. Wilcox added, “From this, it is good to work together with everybody.  We can understand the needs of each department and system and work together as a team to bring any incident under control. We also can understand each other's challenges and what we need and ensure we provide the safety and security to those emergency personnel coming in to help.”

The Ministry of Health and Social Development remains committed to providing the resources to ensure the safety and security of all staff and occupancy at His Majesty's Prison.


Fitsroy Randall

Information Officer I
Ministry of Health and Social Development
Vornicia's House of Commerce, Long Bush
Tortola, British Virgin Islands
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