September 23, 20051738Views

Teachers in
the BVI are the latest beneficiaries of the ongoing Community Emergency
Response Team (CERT) training being delivered by the Department of Disaster Management
(DDM) in collaboration with the BVI Red Cross and the Virgin Islands Fire and Rescue

Eighteen teachers from schools in Sea Cow’s Bay are among 30 persons participating in
the latest CERT training session which got underway Monday evening at the
Ebenezer Thomas Primary School (ETPS).

The session
specifically targets teachers at ETPS, Little Litehous Child Development Centre
and the Seventh Day Adventist Primary and Secondary School as part of the SMART
School Pilot Project currently being undertaken.

Through its
adapted format, this session of CERT seeks to support capacity building among
teachers and members of Parent Teachers Associations.  The teachers, parents and other participants are
being trained to respond to emergency situations that may occur at school,
during field trips or during emergency situations when schools have to be evacuated.
It is expected that the training will initiate the formation of the first ever
Campus CERT Teams in the BVI. 

DDM’s Information
and Education Manager, Ms. Philomena Robertson, who is serving as project
manager for the SMART School Pilot explained the importance of emergency
response training for schools. “The integration of this type of training in
schools is new and we have chosen a small community in which to test this
offering.  We are optimistic that the
training will support emergency response capacity building in schools
throughout the Territory,” Ms. Robertson stated. 

During the
week-long session, participants will be exposed to various aspects of disaster
management, First Aid, fire suppression and light search and rescue. At the end
of the training, the competence of participants will be tested in a simulation

“School safety
is a critical component of the strategy established by the Ministry and
Department of Education and the DDM is supporting their efforts by ensuring
that CERT teams are trained and available in schools to identify and help to
correct hazards; communicate with first responders effectively during emergency
situations; provide basic medical triage and treatment; undertake light search
and rescue and support effective record keeping,” Ms. Robertson added.

official made special mention of the enthusiasm of some parents to be part of
the initiative and she encouraged continued support for promoting safety in schools.
“Parents drop off their children at schools with the expectation teachers are
in a position to not only educate them but care for them and keep them safe
during any eventuality that may occur.  Are
we certain that this capacity exists? 
Are we certain that they will be able to provide an optimal level of
safety and security for our children and for themselves if faced with an
emergency?  As parents, it is important
that we support these types of initiatives and that we find time to participate
as well,” she said.

School Pilot Project will also include the re-assessment of schools based on
the Health and Safety Checklist and the application of a Green Checklist that
takes into consideration the implementation of green and climate smart
intervention strategies. Ms. Robertson encouraged continued support for the
project saying parents and members of the wider community can assist in the
provision of supplies, equipment, maintenance and/or retrofitting works which
will be identified through the inspections.

School Pilot Project is funded
the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) through the Caribbean Disaster Emergency
Management Agency (CDEMA), as part of the Mainstreaming Climate Change in
Disaster Management in the Caribbean Phase II (CCDM-II) Project.