Wednesday, October 28 – Community Emergency Response Team Training for teenagers (Teen CERT) is now part of the afterschool programme administered through Cedar International School and facilitated by the Department of Disaster Management (DDM), BVI Red Cross and Virgin Islands Fire and Rescue Service.
The training is specifically designed for students from age 14 to 18 years and includes emergency preparedness and disaster response skills as well as disaster medical operations. High school students receive the training through classroom instruction, hands-on activities and exercises to learn new life skills, serve their school and community, and experience the value of teamwork.
Training Officer with DDM, Ms. Carishma Hicks said the Teen CERT activity is part of the DDM’s programme established with the Ministry of Education and Culture to make schools safer by having educated and trained youth capable of preparing for and responding to incidents and emergencies that may occur in the home, school or community.
The Teen CERT program covers a variety of topics related to disaster preparedness, fire safety, medical operations, light search and rescue, disaster psychology, team organisation, basic First Aid, CPR and emergency communications.
Ms. Hicks stated, “The curriculum has been designed to reinforce existing learning areas of the school’s curriculum related to chemistry principles; physics concepts; psychology principles and cultural diversity issues.”
Although facilitated by the DDM staff the Teen CERT program incorporates specific subject matter experts in their particular disciplines to provide the specialised training that is needed. This allows for engagement by the Virgin Islands Fire and Rescue Service and the BVI Red Cross.
Cedar International School is the first secondary institution to have the programme formally integrated into its afterschool offerings. A total of 12 students have signed up and are fully engaged in the programme which started at the beginning of the 2015 to 2016 academic year. The pilot course was delivered in 2014, and included students from the Cedar International School, Elmore Stoutt High School, St George’s Secondary School and the BVI Seventh-day Adventist School. Through the pilot, a total of 14 students completed the programme and were equipped with tools to allow them to continue to practice their skills.
The DDM’s training Officer is encouraging schools to consider incorporating this programme into their secondary school offerings or their response planning activities as it enhances the educational experience that can be made available to students and provides them with lifesaving skills and knowledge. She added that this is a perfect opportunity for students to fulfil community service requirements, give back to the community, build self-esteem and receive the satisfaction that comes from helping others.”
The Teen CERT programme is offered to Cedar International School teenagers on Tuesdays from 3:15 to 4:30 p.m but can be tailored to suit times that are available within the school curriculum. Principals wishing to learn more about the programme can contact Carishma Hicks, Training Officer at the DDM at 468 4200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.