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VITEMA Stands in Solidarity with California, Urges U.S. Virgin Islands Residents to Prepare

July 9, 2019

St. Croix, V.I. –The Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA) stands in solidarity with California residents and the emergency response teams deployed in the aftermath of the 6.4 and 7.1 magnitude earthquakes that shook the state last week.

“What happened in California puts us all on notice,” said VITEMA Director Daryl D. Jaschen. “Earthquakes can happen at any time, without warning. The U.S. Virgin Islands are in a seismically active region, making the threat of earthquakes and subsequent tsunamis a reality for residents,” said Jaschen. “If we are to truly prepare ourselves, our communities and families, we must continue to remain vigilant, while taking action to prepare for and respond to these threats.”

VITEMA urges residents to begin earthquake preparedness initiatives today by having an earthquake readiness plan in place. Here are some tips for your earthquake readiness plan.

  • Know whether you live, work, or play in a tsunami hazard zone. Tsunami maps of the U.S. Virgin Islands can be found and printed at
  • Practice Drop, Cover, then Hold On with family and coworkers. Drop to your hands and knees. Cover your head and neck with your arms. Crawl only as far as needed to reach cover from falling materials. Hold on to any sturdy furniture until the shaking stops.
  • Create a family emergency communications plan that has an out-of-state contact. Plan where to meet if you get separated.
  • Make a supply kit that includes enough food and water for at least ten days, a flashlight, a fire extinguisher, and a whistle. Consider each person’s specific needs, including medication. Do not forget the needs of pets. Have extra batteries and charging devices for phones and other critical equipment.
  • Consider obtaining an earthquake insurance policy. Standard homeowner’s insurance does not cover earthquake damage.

To promote earthquake preparedness and response in the territory, VITEMA is strongly encouraging all residents, businesses, schools and communities to participate in the national “Great Shake Out Earthquake Drill” on October 17th. “We are really hoping that this year we will have the engagement of all schools, government agencies, and vulnerable populations to gain insight on where our strengths and deficiencies lie,” said Jaschen. “We need the entire community’s participation in order to do that.”

To register your participation and for ideas on how you can take advantage of this opportunity, visit today.

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