BVI, Caribbeanand International News

Over 30 emergency calls @ The Baths in 2022 & no lifeguard- Report

Over 30 emergency calls @ The Baths in 2022 & no lifeguard- Report

The Virgin Islands Fire and Rescue Services has called for lifeguards to be placed at The Baths National Park, given the area continues to receive emergency calls when the park is opened to guests.

In the January 3, 2023, report titled ‘Medical and Emergency Response on the Sister Islands’ and prepared by the Sister Islands Unit in the Office of the Deputy Governor, the VI Fire and Rescue Services Department found that the sister islands lack emerergy services in certain areas.

“In 2022, Virgin Islands Fire and Rescue confirmed over thirty emergency calls at The Baths National Park. Seeing sometimes over 1,000 guests a day on cruise ship call days, it is imperative that lifeguards are placed at this location when the National Park is open,” the document noted

The Department said; however, there was a full plan developed for this programme, but never implemented due to a lack of resources.

Meanwhile, the report details the need for an emergency boat and that currently, there is a written agreement between a vessel owner and BVIHSA to transport patients from Virgin Gorda to Beef Island for Medical Evacuation.

The report says VISAR has also been used for different emergencies on several occasions, however, there has been no agreement or written protocol to establish this.

VISAR called for several types of emergencies

“VISAR has also been used for this purpose on several occasions; there has been no agreement or written protocol to establish this. However, VISAR is called for several types of emergencies and has recently been called for medical evacuation on Anegada.”

The Department also complained that staff at clinics on the sister islands are more general practitioners and are not trained to handle emergencies, but [while they] do the best they can, this can be improved.

“Staff of Fire and Rescue are also charged with managing the ambulance and some are certified EMT’s. There are 4 EMT’s across the sister islands, with three of them on Virgin Gorda and one on Anegada. All staff at Fire and Rescue should be trained for medical emergencies even if not trained as EMT’s based on their scope of work on the SI’s,” the Department further added.

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