Aug. 26, 2005 — First Insurance Agency and the St. Croix chapter of the American Red Cross are collaborating on a hurricane kit, which will help sustain a hurricane victim for three days in the event of a disaster. First Insurance financed the kits, which will be distributed to U.S.V.I. residents.
The kits — red duffle bags with the Red Cross and First Insurance logos on the front — contain a myriad of items, including a flashlight and batteries, blankets, a 52-piece first aid kit, a personal hygiene pack, work gloves, emergency food ration bars, a poncho and toilet tissue, among others.
The kits, valued at $30, will be sold to V.I. residents for $10. The kits were made possible through a $10,000 donation from First Insurance. In St. Croix, 140 kits will be distributed, with 125 in St. Thomas, 80 in St. John and 30 in Water Island.
"Our main interest and focus is to reinvest in the community, and providing the emergency kits is a good fit," said Marian Mathes, First Insurance general manager. "With the active [hurricane] season in full swing, the community's preparedness and safety is first on everyone's mind."
Hiram Wiggins, coordinator of the St. Croix chapter of Guardian Angels, was present the first day the kits were distributed. "This is very necessary," Wiggins said. "It's important for people to have these emergency kits." Originally from Los Angeles, Wiggins moved to St. Croix in May to coordinate and provide instruction for the new Guardian Angels chapter. He admits that he has never experienced a devastating hurricane. "I've been in an earthquake," he said. Wiggins pledged the support of the local chapter to assist with security in emergency shelters in the event of a disaster.
Marla Matthews, a Red Cross disaster chairperson, said the partnership between First Insurance and the Guardian Angels in the Red Cross' disaster preparedness plan is a good one. "The kits can serve as a model of what residents need for their own kits," Matthews said. She said residents could customize the kits to suit their own family. "If you have children, you can include books or games. If you are elderly, you can put your medicine in the kits." Matthews said the Guardian Angels would be a welcome addition in emergency situations. "The Guardian Angels' presence in the shelters would help protect the lives of citizens and help in logistics."
Red Cross Board Member Sari Anduze expressed her gratitude to the Guardian Angels and First Insurance. "It's important that these positive programs have taken the time to be here today and give their support.
Kits can be purchased at the Elaine Sprauve Public Library and the Market Place Shopping Center.
Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.