Press Release

Department of Disaster Management
Release Date:
Wednesday, 28 October 2015 - 1:30pm

The Department of Disaster Management is partnering with the Rotary Club of Road Town to offer Business Emergency Response Training (BERT) for local businesses.

The training is being conducted by the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) at the BVI Red Cross Headquarters and is designed to increase preparedness of the private sector. The training complements the Tropical Shipping sponsored Business Recovery Planning workshops which were held during the months of September and October. During this period, businesses were assisted in the development of plans and procedures to support continuity of operations in the event of any disruptions caused to their enterprises.

 DDM’s Deputy Director, Mrs. Evangeline Inniss-Springer said the BERT program was designed specially to support business self-sufficiency through the development of teams that have the capability to respond to incidents that occur in the workplace or those that occur on a national scale.

Mrs. Inniss-Springer said the BERT initiative was piloted in July 2015 and offered to employees at Delta Petroleum Ltd.  She added, “The training exposes participants to the key concepts of disaster management and includes skill development in the areas of evacuation planning, basic search and rescue, fire suppression, fire safety, emergency communications and initial damage assessment.”

The training is facilitated by the officers from the DDM and the Virgin Islands Fire and Rescue Service.  The BVI Red Cross is also a key facilitator and provides training in CPR and First Aid which is specifically designed for application in the workplace.

The Rotary and Rotaract Clubs of the BVI signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the DDM in September 2015 to support various areas of disaster management. As part of this agreement there is a commitment to assist small businesses in ensuring that the necessary tools and skills are in place to allow for efficient recovery from the effects of hazards that can impact the BVI. 

President of the Rotary Club of Road Town, Mr. Ryan Geluk stated that the Rotary Clubs have committed their support to the DDM in carrying out its mandate and understands the need for active participation, planning, and cooperation of all in order for the mandate to be delivered.  

Mr. Geluk said, “We understand that the responsibility for preparedness lies with individual businesses, however, we also know that hazard impacts can be devastating to territories like the BVI and therefore there is a need for us to support the small businesses that provide critical services to our communities.”

The Rotary Club President added said that his organisation is partnering with the DDM to support and encourage efforts by businesses to be disaster literate and be ready for the impact of the types of hazards that have been affecting the region.

Mr Geluk said, “Businesses have a responsibility to ensure that they can recover and continue critical operations as well as be in a position to deliver services to their clients after any type of disruptive incident.  The protection of their employees is also important and we want them to have the tools necessary to do this.”

The BERT Training is offered over a period of three hours every afternoon and will run from October 26 to 30, 2015 at the BVI Red Cross Headquarters.  A total of 17 persons from ten businesses have participated in this training.  Businesses interested in providing this training for their staff can contact Carishma Hicks, Training Officer at the DDM at 468 4200 or email at


Department of Disaster Management

#3 Wailing Road McNamara,
Road Town VG1110,
Tortola Virgin Islands
Tel: 284-468-4200 Fax:284-494-2024
Office Email: