The territory’s tsunami early warning system — which failed an audible test in November — is scheduled to be refurbished this month, a V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency spokesman has told The Daily News.
VITEMA spokesman Garry Green said via email that the refurbishment will “replace and harden many of the key components damaged by” hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017.
The latest update comes months after the Federal Emergency Management Agency obligated $1.6 million to the V.I. for the tsunami early warning system, according to a March 21 news release. Repairs include replacing the system’s wooden support poles with steel ones, mounting “heavy-duty” solar panels, and adding “robust” tension cables, according to the release.
Joe Girot, FEMA’s infrastructure director, said in the release that the refurbishment is “the first of many projects designed to make the Virgin Islands more resilient for future events.”
The V.I.’s tsunami alert sirens were last tested on Nov. 7. Green said that seven sites between St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas tested “OK,” but the actual alert sounds were not heard, as The Daily News reported at the time.
In addition to the sirens, VITEMA’s Emergency Alert System sends out real-time alerts to users, Green said. The system, also known as Alert V.I., notifies subscribers about emergencies with phone calls, text messages and/or emails, according to the website. Green noted that a March 14 test of the mobile alert system was successful.
Green did not respond to additional questions — including how the planned repairs will address the sound issues and when the next test will be conducted — by press time Monday.