November 7, 20121361Views

7 November
– Twelve residents of Anegada will become better equipped to
respond to emergencies after a week-long training being facilitated by the
Department of Disaster Management (DDM) in collaboration with Caribbean
Emergency Responders Training Academy (C-E-R-T-A).

 The Caribbean Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA)
is funding the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training in Anegada
through the ACP-EU Disaster Risk Management Sub-Regional Programme where
Anegada, as one of the 12 pilot communities, will benefit from the “Improved
Community Preparedness” component of the Disaster Risk Management Sub-Regional

 The CERT training, which is held from 5 to 9
November, is being undertaken as part of the capacity enhancement training to
improve the community’s capacity to initiate/implement and sustain mitigation
actions and/or measures to reduce their vulnerabilities and risks.

 These teams are vital for disaster situations when
the number and scope of incidents clearly overwhelm conventional emergency services.
CERT training provides community self-sufficiency through the development of
multi-functional response teams that can assist local emergency services during
a crisis or major disaster situation.

 Empowered by this unique training, people from
community organisations can assemble as a CERT, or perform as individual
leaders to direct untrained volunteers in the initial phase of a disaster.

 In speaking with Ms. Evangeline Inniss, CDEMA’s
representative, she said, “the residents of Anegada will receive training in
disaster awareness, disaster fire suppression techniques, incident command
system, disaster medical operations, light search and rescue, disaster
psychology and team organisation and management.
  The training will culminate with a simulation
exercise and a comprehensive course review.”

 Ms. Inniss further said, “CDEMA will ensure that
there is capacity within the Virgin Islands to continue this training.
  An instructor course will be held in
Montserrat from 12 to 16 November and six persons from the Virgin Islands will
be participating along with persons from Antigua and Barbuda, Montserrat, St.
Kitts Nevis and Anguilla”

 Messrs. Ron Mobley and Dwayne Straun of C-E-R-T-A,
a local company based in Virgin Gorda will facilitate the training with assistance
from Carishma Hicks, Training Officer and Cecil Jeffrey, Assistant Information
Officer at the DDM.

 In his Opening Statements to the participants
Sister Islands Coordinator, Mr. Vincent Wheatley said, “The ability of a
business or community to recover from the devastating effects of a natural or
man-induced event requires active planning, participation and cooperation of
all members of society. The responsibility of preparedness, however, lies with
each individual. By encouraging preparedness efforts, hazard identification and
mitigation, CERTs can minimise the effects of a hazard or disaster event and
facilitate the recovery.”

 The benefits of the CERT programme are numerous. At
the end of the training, Anegada will have a well-trained civilian emergency
work force. It will increase the overall level of public disaster readiness in
Anegada, provide emergency skills that people may use in day-to-day
emergencies, enhance the bond between government and communities, and increased
community spirit.