July 15, 20131087Views

Monday, July 15More than 40 emergency first
responders, fire officers and police officers are now better equipped to respond
to land and sea-based emergencies, having just completed intensive training courses
in Water Safety and Rescue – Modules I and II, Vehicle Extrication and Incident
Command System.

Certificates and special
awards were distributed to the participants during an award ceremony Thursday
morning, held at the Road Town Fire Station. His Excellency Governor Mr. Boyd
McCleary, CMG,CVO commended the participants for the commitment and diligence
demonstrated through their participation and completion of assigned tasks.
“Time is constantly changing, emergency response mechanisms are consistently
evolving; it is important that you do your part to ensure that as first
responders you keep abreast of techniques as they develop. The preservation of
life is not to be treated lightly; it is a significant responsibility entrusted
to you.”

Governor McCleary encouraged
them to work collectively towards the improvement of emergency services in the
British Virgin Islands (BVI). “In many cases, the response time and the skill
of first responders in extricating persons from vehicles will mean the
difference between life and death. With 12 of you now certified to conduct
vehicle extrication, it certainly boosts the capacity of your respective

In her remarks, Department
of Disaster Management (DDM) Director Ms. Sharleen DaBreo recognised training
as an essential element of the job of emergency first responders. She noted
that June was a particularly busy month for the department, as it was
responsible for coordinating six courses during which 73 persons were trained.
“We are extremely proud of this accomplishment as we recognise that DDM cannot
work in isolation and needs to ensure that the people we work in collaboration
with are equipped with the knowledge and tools to function effectively.”

The courses were funded by
the Governor’s Office and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency
(CDEMA) which manages funds provided through the African, Caribbean &
Pacific Group and the European Union ACP-EU Disaster Risk Management
Sub-Regional Programme.

Ms. DaBreo expressed
gratitude to the instructors for sharing valuable knowledge and underscored the
significance of the collaborative approach of the DDM in addressing disaster
management in the BVI. “It is clear that we recognise the value of first
responders and we remain committed to working in collaboration with them so
that together we are able to provide an efficient service to the people of the
British Virgin Islands. The DDM serves as a catalyst
for mobilising all sectors of the community, Government and non-government, to
take effective action to significantly reduce vulnerability to hazards of all

In his remarks,
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communications and Works Mr. Gary Penn
congratulated the course participants and also encouraged them to use the
knowledge gained to improve the services they provide.

Special awards
were presented to Romney Thomas, Glenmore Johnson and Stephen Chinnery for
outstanding performance in Water Safety and Rescue; Gaston Walters and Benson
Thomas for outstanding performances in Vehicle Extrication and Shawn Henry for
outstanding performance in Incident Command System.

Also at
Thursday’s ceremony, presentations were made to the newly established Community
Emergency Response Teams (CERT) on Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke. The June
training organised by the DDM also enabled 19 persons from these two communities
to participate in courses that have now certified them to be emergency first

The Department
of Disaster Management is the Government agency mandated to reduce the loss of
life and property attributable to disasters by ensuring that adequate
preparedness and mitigation measures and response and recovery mechanisms are
established to counteract the impact of natural and technological hazards.