After a two-year effort across the public service, the Virgin Islands has been re-accreditated by a United States-based organisation that assesses disaster preparedness, government stated on Friday.

The non-profit Emergency Management Accreditation Programme — which first accredited the territory in 2015 — evaluates emergency management programmes around the world according to a 66-point rubric encompassing all phases of the disaster management cycle, according to Government Information Services.

On Jan. 26, EMAP included the VI on its list of “elite leaders in emergency management.”

Premier Dr. Natalio “Sowande” Wheatley noted that the territory joins Ottawa, Canada and the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia as the only three accredited programmes outside the US.

“As a people, we were proud to become the first Caribbean jurisdiction to hold this prestigious recognition,” he said. “Re-accreditation confirms that we have remained steadfast and committed to emergency planning and disaster management.”

Governor John Rankin said the re-accreditation means the territory has maintained a high level of readiness since accreditation status was first achieved in 2015.

“Re-accreditation recognises that the Virgin Islands has been able to continually improve its disaster management programme,” he said.

Deputy Governor David Archer Jr. said the re-accreditation process started in 2020 and required representatives from across the public service to submit evidence documenting how the territory has maintained compliance with each standard area.

“Re-accreditation was an exercise in holding ourselves accountable to the people of the Virgin Islands,” he added.


EMAP’s Commission Chair Angee Morgan said a consecutive accreditation is a significant achievement.

“Through their commitment and leadership, the British Virgin Islands have proven to their communities and stakeholders that BVI disaster management is sustainable, and that they continue to focus on the communities’ best interests,” Ms. Morgan stated.

EMAP’s accreditation process evaluates emergency management programmes in 16 broad areas: administration and finance; laws and authorities; hazard identification; risk assessment; hazard mitigation; prevention; operational planning and procedures; incident management; resource management; mutual aid and logistics; communications and warning; facilities; training; exercises; and emergency public information and education.

EMAP describes itself as the only accreditation body for emergency management programmes worldwide.