September 10, 2020
DR-4335-VI DR-4340-VI NR 178
FEMA NEWS DESK
ST. CROIX, U.S. Virgin Islands – Emergency services, like fire, police and EMS, are the fabric of a safe community. FEMA has obligated $16.8 million in funding to the territory for repairs and upgrades to public facilities, including those that enable first responders to execute their duties. Ensuring these facilities are operational and maintain continuity of services is vital for emergency response.
“During hurricanes Irma and Maria the territory’s first responders worked around the clock to provide care, compassion, and safety to their communities,” said William Vogel, Federal Coordinating Officer for the recovery. “FEMA will continue to be there to support the first responders and ensure they have the tools to do their jobs. Their commitment to working on the front lines every day is heroic.”
Through FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, various emergency services facilities across the territory are being wind retrofitted, allowing the buildings to withstand hurricane winds speeds and in accordance with the territory’s recently adopted 2018 building codes. These measures will lessen the risks posed by hurricane winds, including wind load, flying debris and wind-driven rain to reduce future structural damage or failure.
Additionally, the territory was awarded $94,000 in funding to upgrade communications technology including satellite hotspots and transportable repeaters which will allow first responders to quickly extend wide area coverage and set up an on-site dedicated network. This equipment and training will provide reliable voice and data services to maintain continuity of operations during an emergency.
“These projects totaling over $11.5 million in FEMA funding will allow the Territory’s emergency management facilities to be fortified to ensure the continuity of services when disaster strikes and protect those who serve our communities when we are most in need,” said Office of Disaster Recovery Director Adrienne L. Williams-Octalien.