A new Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) has been established in North Sound, Virgin Gorda.
The team, comprised of 10 individuals, was created following their successful completion of the CERT training which was held during the period April 18 to 26.
The training was conducted by representatives of the British Virgin Islands (BVI) Red Cross in collaboration with the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) and the Virgin Islands Fire Rescue Service with support from Mrs. Donnette Matthew from the Sea Cows Bay CERT Team. Mrs. Matthew is part of a cohort of facilitators that were trained in February 2016 to provide support to the current team of instructors.
This is the third CERT team formed on Virgin Gorda. The first was established in The Valley in 2013 and the first church-based team at the Virgin Gorda Seventh-day Adventist Church in 2014.
Disaster Risk Reduction Manager with the BVI Red Cross, Jason Lyons said, “The establishment of this group of emergency responders in North Sound is part of the collaborative efforts with DDM to ensure that as many persons as possible within our communities are empowered to respond to hazard impacts and emergencies.”
He added, “The training exposed participants to a number of basic life support and rescue techniques. With this knowledge and increased awareness of what to do in stressful emergency situations that may arise CERT members are able to help their communities to quickly recover from emergency situations”.
The DDM’s Training Officer, Carishma Hicks encouraged more persons to receive CERT training.
She said, “CERT members are able to build the capacity of their communities and reduce one’s vulnerability after a hazard impact. This is why it is extremely important that CERT volunteers encourage others within the community to see the benefit of the training. The more CERT members a community has, the greater its chance of a quick recovery and fewer injuries and deaths after an emergency”.
Ms Hicks added, ‘the CERT training exposed participants to basic fire suppression, basic search and rescue, first aid and CPR and disaster medical operations which are skills required in the emergency response and recovery process”.
The CERT training offered in North Sound was funded by the UK Agency for International Development and delivered through the British Virgin Islands Red Cross with support from the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) and the Virgin Islands Fire and Rescue Service.
The national CERT programme began in the BVI in 2012 and is an ongoing initiative to strengthen disaster resilience within communities.
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, Sea Cows Bay and Cane Garden Bay.
Refresher courses are also conducted for established teams every two years to ensure that the skills are not lost.