Solar-powered and wind-up lanterns, handheld saws, portable radios, waterproof boots, power banks, pocket toolkits, fire spray, and survival kits were among the items on display at the Clarence Thomas Ltd. booth on Friday during the first-ever BVI Red Cross Emergency Preparedness Expo.
“This is our first disaster preparedness expo — the first of many to come,” said BVIRC Director Stacey Lloyd. “We hope to do this annually and to take this on a bigger scale. The idea is to take something like this and launch it prior to the hurricane season, which starts in June.”
The expo was one of several events held last week as the BVIRC marked its 65th anniversary.
Instead of just celebrating Red Cross Day this year — an international observance commemorating the birthday of founder Jean-Henri Dunant on May 8 — the non-profit organisation hosted Red Cross Week.
On Friday morning into the afternoon at the Noel Lloyd Positive Action Movement Park, various organisations and businesses helped educate residents about the importance of hurricane preparedness and where to find the necessary equipment.
“We wanted to start to get the community ready in terms of preparedness, and we wanted to give them a platform where they could come and get a lot of information about preparedness and how to mitigate any type of risk,” Ms. Lloyd said.
Disasters and risks don’t just mean hurricanes: They also include earthquakes, tsunamis, fires and floods, she added.
“We decided to partner with different rescue organisations, public safety, stores and organisations that provide equipment and resources for preparedness mitigation,” Ms. Lloyd said.
The Department of Disaster Management, Clarence Thomas Ltd., Rite Way Food Markets, the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force, the VI Fire and Rescue Service, VI Search and Rescue, the BVI Chamber of Commerce and Hotel Association, Alphonso Warner Insurance, Green VI, and the BVI Electricity Corporation set up booths at the expo.
Students who attended learned CPR techniques from police and fire officers, Ms. Lloyd said.
“Overall, I’m very satisfied with the turnout and the participation from the community,” she said.
Julie Schneider, executive creative director at VISAR, said the students were engaged and asking questions at every booth.
Police also offered penalty-free window tint tests at the expo.
Front windows can be tinted up to 65 percent while back windows can be tinted up to 80 percent, but drivers can be fined $750 for each window that exceeds that limit.
Tints can be removed from windows easily since they are like stickers, police officer Glen Callwood explained.
Mr. Callwood said residents should be aware that windows are already slightly tinted at factory settings.
At the expo, officers tested the light penetration of windows by placing one box on the inside of a window and another on the outside. A light would shine from one box into the next, providing a reading of the light visibility.
Mr. Callwood said the device works at any time of the day. He also mentioned that some people have complained in recent weeks that the tint test didn’t work, but he said those people were “just creating problems.” He invited people to come check the tint test for themselves to be assured that the device works properly.
After last week, he added, police planned to start enforcing the tint law more rigorously.
Red Cross Week
The BVIRC also put on other events throughout last week, including an open house at its headquarters on May 3 and Eslyn Henley Richiez Day on April 4. The special-education school now named
after Ms. Richiez was established by the BVIRC in 1972 as Fort Charlotte Children’s Centre at McNamara, according to government.
The BVIRC also hosted a “Fashion in Red” day at the Cyril B. Romney Tortola Pier Park on May 5, displaying different clothes found at the BVIRC thrift shop, and a volunteer appreciation ceremony last Thursday.
Following the emergency preparedness expo, the organisation hosted a day of yoga, meditation and exercise at Queen Elizabeth II Park on Saturday under the theme “Get Fit with Red.”
Finally, the week culminated in a Mom and Family Funday at the Althea Scatliffe Primary School on Sunday.
Ms. Lloyd said the events went well and that the BVIRC is “happy to do a lot of outreach” about its work.
On May 4, the BVIRC also launched 65th anniversary commemorative licence plates, which are available for purchase.
Each plate costs $200 and starts with the letters “RC” followed by numbers.
The BVIRC design is one of three commemorative plate designs issued in the territory, and the only one that financially benefits the BVIRC, according to government.