Employees of Delta Petroleum are the first to benefit from the newly introduced Business Emergency Response Training (BERT) facilitated by the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) and the BVI Red Cross.
BERT, adapted from the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is specifically designed for businesses and is similarly intended to build resilience, specifically within the business community.
Delivering opening remarks at the start of the training sessions, DDM’s Information and Education Manager, Ms. Philomena Robertson explained that the course exposes participants to the basic principles of disaster management, disaster planning, conducting damage assessments, designing and executing simulation exercises to test continuity plans, First Aid and emergency communications, as well as health and safety requirements and strict compliance with the BVI Labour Code.
“Our goal is to ensure that you are better prepared to deal with any emergencies or potential hazard impacts in the workplace. We want to build capacity within your organisation to ensure there's an adequate response mechanism in place to help save lives and minimise potential damage to property,” Ms. Robertson told participants.
Acknowledging that the very nature of Delta Petroleum’s operations is one that poses tremendous risks, the DDM officer said it is imperative that calculated steps are taken to protect both lives and property at all times.
“The information you acquire during this training could save a life and protect your workplace from experiencing damage that could potentially put you out of a job. I encourage you to embrace the opportunity provided for you, absorb all the material that is being presented. Let's create a resilient BVI, one business at a time,” she said.
DDM’s Training Officer, Ms. Carishma Hicks commended DELTA Petroleum for being the first business to capitalise on the opportunity to train its entire staff from its five locations on Tortola and Virgin Gorda.
She noted that, “Through the BERT initiative, the DDM is continuing efforts to build resilience within the private sector, focusing specifically on the capacity within individual businesses. This is the first of many sessions we will host and we encourage the business community to get on board as quickly as possible.”
As trailblazers in the business community, Delta’s Island Manager, Mr. Lennon DaBreo welcomed the recognition and he is keen to see other businesses undertake the emergency training for their employees.
“The BERT course is important for us because of the industry we are in. We operate in a high risk field with volatile products and it is beneficial for the staff to be prepared for any eventuality. Staff will have individual responsibility but they will be contributing collectively to reducing any potential loss of life and property,” he stated.
Mr. DaBreo added, “Delta operates a 24-hour service and there is a high potential for emergencies to occur in the work environment. It may be an incident related to a truck or it could be a hazard that affects one of the plants. Whatever the scenario, if staff is properly trained we are more likely to be able to minimise the impact of the incident.”
The DDM has partnered with the BVI Red Cross to facilitate the BERT course. Director of the BVI Red Cross, Mrs. Helen Frett underscored the history of collaboration between the two agencies.
“The DDM and BVI Red Cross share a long-standing partnership, consistently pooling our resources to bring maximum benefit to the people of the BVI. Having jointly facilitated the emergency training at the community level, it is only natural to extend the partnership to facilitate training for the business community,” Mrs. Frett said.
The next BERT workshop is scheduled for October and is being organised in conjunction with the Rotary Club of Road Town. To obtain more information on BERT or to sign up for the next available course offering, please contact the DDM at 468 4200 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.