Eight (8) students from the Elmore Stoutt High School are undergoing training in Community Emergency Response Team designed for teenagers.
The Teen CERT programme is being financed by Walkers through a grant tailored to assist local charities that support children’s development as well as sports and culture. The training is facilitated by the staff at the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) and supported by the BVI Red Cross and Virgin Islands Fire and Rescue Service.
Office Manager at Walker, Ms. Trish Phillips said, “Walkers was pleased to support this important initiative for teens. We are thrilled that the programme has been offered considering the devastation caused by the Hurricanes of 2017 and the challenges that the DDM and the Ministry of Education have been facing in resuming normal operations. We are so excited to see students from the Elmore Stoutt High School benefiting from this important training.”
The training is specifically designed for students from ages 12 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 added, “The training 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. These include BVI Red Cross for Basic First Aid and Virgin Islands Fire and Rescue Service for fire suppression.
The DDM has partnered with other secondary schools throughout the Territory in the past to offer the training. These schools include Cedar International School which is the first secondary institution to have the programme formally integrated into its afterschool offerings. Other schools that have participated in the training include St. George’s Secondary School and the BVI Seventh-day Adventist School.
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 and provides the students with lifesaving knowledge. Ms. Hicks 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.
Persons or organisations wishing to support the Teen CERT Programme are asked to contact Ms Hicks at 468 4198