The territory’s emergency communication network has been strengthened with improved transmission capabilities and 75 new VHF handsets ahead of the height of hurricane season, according to the Department of Disaster Management.
In the coming weeks, the agency will distribute handsets to critical locations around the territory, such as fire stations, customs and immigration facilities, and offices on the sister islands, according to DDM Emergency Communications Manager Jasen Penn.
“Some of these offices, which are vital to making sure that different areas of the territory maintain contact after an emergency, have been relying heavily on their mobile devices since Irma,” Mr. Penn said. “The radio network is now much more resilient, and we want to make sure that it’s accessible to those who need it ahead of the height of the Atlantic hurricane season.”
In addition to the new handsets, the transmission network will be improved with new or upgraded repeaters, which send signals between handsets from atop towers, according to DDM.
“We have new a repeater to be installed on Sabbath Hill, which will improve communications between Tortola and Virgin Gorda,” Mr. Penn explained.
Jost Van Dyke and North Sound will also receive new repeaters, he added, while the Chalwell repeater, which facilitates communications with Anegada, will be upgraded.
Of the new handsets, 30 were donated by the Governor’s Office and 45 were purchased with funds from the Caribbean Development Bank Recovery and Rehabilitation Loan obtained by the government after the 2017 hurricanes.
A land-based VHF radio training course was held Tuesday and yesterday. Further sessions are to be held in August.
The VHF radio network is a critical component of the National Multi-Hazard Alert System managed by DDM, according to the agency.