Region II Acting Administrator Thomas Fargione focused on ways FEMA could strengthen support for disaster response with Governor Albert Bryan Jr. and other leaders in the Territory during the monthly Emergency Management Council meeting at the V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA) building on St. Thomas.
The council meeting 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. Acting Regional Administrator Fargione later reviewed the focus areas in greater detail with VITEMA Director Daryl Jaschen after the council meeting.
Acting Regional Administrator Fargione joined the agency in 2009 and is a former Region II Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT) leader. He has served as the team lead for National IMAT-Blue since 2017.
“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. 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,” said Acting Regional Administrator Fargione.
Building on the success of the jointly held Response Capstone event several weeks ago, Region II’s Response Division and FEMA’s U.S. Virgin Islands Caribbean Area Office continue to coordinate planning and resources with Governor Bryan and Director Jaschen to put the U.S. Virgin Islands in position to respond to any storms that may impact the Territory this summer.
“After the last EMC meeting, I’m confident in our preparedness efforts, and Acting Administrator Fargione stands ready to continue our long-standing and close partnership with FEMA,” Governor Bryan said. “Residents can be reassured that together with our federal partners, we are ready and resilient for the hurricane season.”
VITEMA Director Daryl Jaschen emphasized the importance of federal and territorial partnerships for successful emergency management. “The partnership with VITEMA and FEMA in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic through the fundamentals and discipline of emergency management for the past 15 months are the exact same methods used to prepare for and respond to a tropical cyclone threat,” said Director Jaschen. “Our recent Capstone event focused on a major hurricane response to the Territory and included additional local agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and federal partners. 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.”
FEMA will continue to leverage its resources to support preparedness, response, and recovery in the U.S. Virgin Islands, but these efforts begin and end with individuals. Virgin Islanders have an opportunity to prepare themselves and their families for tropical storms and hurricanes well 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.
Learn more about emergency planning at https://www.ready.gov/plan , readiness for individuals with disabilities at www.ready.gov/disability and financial preparedness at www.ready.gov/financial-preparedness . Subscribe to VITEMA’s mass notification system Alert VI to receive emergency alerts.
- Discuss the latest V.I. Department of Health guidance of COVID-19 with your family and how it could affect your hurricane planning.
If you or anyone in your household is elderly or an individual with a disability, access, or functional need, identify any additional help during an emergency. Virgin Islanders age 60 and older and persons with disabilities may register with the V.I. 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 .
It takes only one hurricane, or even a tropical storm, to cause a disaster.