Nineteen new fire officers and two police officers have successfully completed a one-week training programme in Emergency Care and Treatment (ECAT).
The officers from the Virgin Islands Fire and Rescue Service, the BVI Airports Authority Rescue Fire Fighting Service and the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force acquired emergency response skills from the training organised by the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) with support from the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO).
PAHO’s Regional Trainer, Mr. Peter Burgess facilitated the May 22 to 26 training which allowed for the development of life-saving skills needed to assess and care for patients in emergency situations.
Mr. Burgess said ECAT entails patient assessments; identifying abdominal, chest, head and other injuries; determining signs of trauma; understanding how injuries occur and applying rescue techniques.
He added, “The training would benefit the new officers as they will eventually have to respond to incidents and will be able to carry out the basic medical care that is needed until the patient is transported to the hospital.”
Mr. Burgess further stated that the training was designed to develop pre-hospital medical skills for individuals in emergency services who often become first responders.
“They might be the first responders on the scene so it is important that they are able to adequately provide basic medical intervention which can save a life and it benefits the country as a whole,” he added.
The officers participated in 40 hours of skills based activities as well as theory sessions and were assessed using various techniques including written examinations.
DDM’s Training Officer, Carishma Hicks highlighted the importance of the training and said that new officers entering the emergency services require these skills to carry out their duties effectively.
Ms. Hicks added, “The ECAT training is also a prerequisite to mass casualty management and incident command system training which the officers are expected to undertake later this year.”
The ECAT course was developed by emergency medical technicians and doctors to suit the Caribbean environment. The course is offered by PAHO as part of its efforts to strengthen local capacity in disaster and emergency medical response skill development.
The new officers received an ECAT certificate from PAHO which is valid for three years.
The next training session is scheduled to take place in July. The DDM and PAHO have been collaborating to deliver ECAT training in the British Virgin Islands since the early 2000’s.