Several residents from Cane Garden and Brewers Bay are now trained in a number of basic life support and rescue techniques.
The training programme was conducted by the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) from March 15 to 23.
Participants were trained in basic fire suppression, basic search and rescue, first aid and CPR, and disaster medical operations which can make a difference between life and death during emergencies.
The programme was funded under the UK Department for International Development through the British Virgin Islands Red Cross. It also received support from the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) and the Virgin Islands Fire and Rescue Service.
Disaster Risk Reduction Officer at the BVI Red Cross Jason Lyons stated that the training was part of efforts to build the capacity of communities by ensuring that residents are better prepared to respond to emergency situations that may arise.
Mr. Lyons said, “The reality is that during emergency situations or hazard impacts, the members of the community are usually the first on the scene and so it is absolutely critical that these individuals are knowledgeable of basic lifesaving techniques which they can apply to those in need until professionals arrive.”
He said having CERT members in communities does not necessarily mean that there will be no loss of life during emergency situations but it offers a greater chance for survival.
Training Officer at the DDM, Carishma Hicks was pleased with the level of participation by residents of Cane Garden Bay and Brewers Bay in the CERT training, particularly because of the vulnerabilities that exist in that community.
Ms. Hicks said, “This is the first time Cane Garden Bay and Brewers Bay residents have been trained in CERT and while CERT training is necessary for all communities as part of the disaster risk reduction efforts, the training for Cane Garden and Brewers Bay residents was particularly important given the fact that the community is prone to storm surges and flooding.
Ms. Hicks said several attempts were made by the officers at the DDM to encourage members of the community to participate in the training session.
She added, “After house to house visits and engagement of churches we finally got sufficient persons to receive the training and to form a team. It was essential that we establish a team that can be equipped with the skills and tools necessary to reduce the impacts of the hazards that can critically affect these communities.”
CERT training began in the BVI in 2012 and is an ongoing project. To date CERT teams have been trained and established in The Valley, Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke, Anegada, West End, Purcell, East End, Carrot Bay, Road Town and Sea Cows Bay. The next CERT course will be offered in North Sound, Virgin Gorda and will run from April 18 to 26. Persons in the North Sound Community are being asked to register for this training as soon as possible by contacting the DDM at telephone number 468-4200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org