May 28, 20051460Views

The Department of Disaster Management
(DDM) and the BVI Red Cross are continuing their concerted effort to build
resilience in the British Virgin Islands by establishing Community Emergency
Response Teams (CERT) throughout the entire Territory.

This week, another group of persons from
Long Trench/Huntums Ghut and surrounding areas, embarked on the week-long CERT
training programme which would see them being exposed to a number of areas
including First Aid, search and rescue and fire suppression. It is expected
that at the end of the week, they will form a CERT within their community.

The start of this week’s CERT coincided
with a certificate presentation ceremony for persons from the Purcell Estate
community who completed their training in March.

DDM’s Deputy Director, Mrs. Evangeline
Inniss in describing the need for the programme said, “In many small island
states, our emergency responders who provide search and rescue fire and medical
services during large scale emergency events will not be able to meet certain
demands.  Situations may also arise in
which victims are unable to access care and therefore community members will
have to rely on each other for help.”

Mrs. Inniss further explained that the
CERT training is based on the premise of doing the greatest good for the
greatest number. “CERT is a positive and realistic approach to emergency and
disaster situations where community members can take actions that will make a
difference to those affected by the situation,” Mrs. Inniss stated.

The training provided through CERT allows
participants to gain more knowledge about what to expect following an emergency
or disaster; receive information about mitigation and preparedness activities
needed in their communities; receive training in administering life-saving
skills with emphasis on quick decision-making and rescuer safety.

At the conclusion of the training,
participants are expected to organise themselves into an established CERT team
which will allow them to continue to practice their skills and become an
essential resource to the national first responder network of volunteers in the

The CERT programme was re-launched by the
DDM in 2013 and has been supported by the United Nations Development Programme
(UNDP), Governor’s Office, BVI Red Cross Disaster Risk Reduction programme and
the Virgin Islands Fire and Rescue Service (VIFRS). 

training is being delivered in communities throughout the BVI by a team of
trainers from the BVI Red Cross, VIFRS and the DDM.  CERT teams have already been established in
Anegada, Virgin Gorda, Jost van Dyke, Purcell Estate and soon a team for the
Long Trench/Huntums Ghut area will be in place. 
To date, 107 persons have been trained including the Caribbean’s first
cohort of Teen CERT responders. 

next CERT course will be offered during the period, 21-25 July 2014 for the
East End/Long Look community.  Persons
wishing to participate in the courses are asked to contact Jason Lyons at the
BVI Red Cross at 494-6349 or Carishma Hicks at the DDM at 468 4200.