April 11, 20051767Views

Seventeen more persons in the British Virgin Islands
have now completed Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training.

This as the Department of Disaster Management (DDM)
and the BVI Red Cross continue collaborative efforts to improve the capacity
within various communities to respond to emergencies.

Participants from the Purcell, Baughers Bay and Belle
Vue communities wrapped up their training this week with a simulation exercise,
designed to put into practice all the skills they would have learnt during the

Participants received training in basic fire
suppression, search and rescue, disaster medical operations, First Aid, hazard
identification, damage and needs assessment among other areas.

The simulation exercise tested all of these skills
through three different scenarios which the participants were hitherto unaware
of. The scenarios were based on an earthquake impacting the BVI, a landslide
occurring as a result of the earthquake and a semi-collapsed structure. Participants
were required to search and identify casualties, extricate victims from the
scene, assess and treat injuries.

Disaster Risk Reduction Officer at the BVI Red Cross,
Mr. Jason Lyons commended the participants for voluntarily attending the
training and maintaining their enthusiasm to the end.

 “The participants
were very enthusiastic; the training sessions were two hours long but most
sessions extended way beyond the allotted time. They responded well during the simulation
but we have identified areas for improvement and we will be working on
improving those through the various training sessions we host,” Mr. Lyons

Director of the BVI Red Cross, Mrs. Helen Frett
underscored the importance of capacity building within communities. “It is
important to prepare persons so that in the event of a disaster, there is a
wide cross section of persons who are able to respond and provide assistance
because we never know when or where a hazard will impact the BVI,” she said.

Deputy Director of the DDM, Ms. Evangeline Inniss
noted that the department has been working assiduously to effect disaster risk
reduction in the BVI and that collaboration with key stakeholders has been
identified as one of the strategies to achieving this objective.

“Although the DDM is spearheading many of the
initiatives geared towards achieving disaster risk reduction in the BVI, we
recognise that we cannot do it alone. It is therefore important for us to
partner with agencies like the BVI Red Cross so that together we can achieve
that common objective of making our communities more resilient,” Ms. Inniss

CERT training sessions are also planned for the
Capoons Bay/West End area as well as East End/Long Look and Greenland
communities. It is expected that about 80 persons on Tortola will benefit from
the CERT training by the end of 2014.

CERT was
initially introduced in the BVI about a decade ago but in recent years, the DDM
has sought to revitalize its community based programme. The residents of
Anegada, Jost Van Dyke and Virgin Gorda have already benefitted from CERT
training and teams have been established.

The DDM in collaboration with the Red Cross and with
support from the BVI Fire and Rescue Service also executed a pilot project for
teenagers in 2013, training and certifying the first Teen CERT in the region.

Photo Caption:

  • Group Photo of
    participants in the just concluded Community Emergency Response Team
    (CERT) training hosted by the BVI Red Cross in collaboration with the
    Department of Disaster Management.