Photo Caption: Students participating
in the DDM Teen CERT training programme.
Department of Disaster Management (DDM) is widening the scope of its effort to
create more disaster resilient communities in the British Virgin Islands (BVI).
the importance of youth involvement, the department in collaboration with the
BVI Red Cross and the BVI Fire and Rescue Services, has launched a pilot
initiative for teenagers designed to equip them with basic disaster management
Community Emergency Response Team training for teenagers (Teen CERT) got
underway at the DDM headquarters Wednesday with 12 teens participating.
first session provided them with an introduction to Teen CERT and a general
overview of disaster preparedness. Over the next seven weeks, they will be
engaged in sessions on topics such as disaster psychology, medical first
triage, basic search and rescue, emergency communication and fire suppression.
the end of the training programme, the teens will be certified to perform CPR
and they will also be trained in basic water safety.
Information and Education Manager, Philomena Robertson said “the DDM envisions
that the Teen CERT training will produce a corps of teenagers who will be
adequately trained and capable of responding to emergency situations and
disasters. In the ideal setting, they would work alongside adult CERT members
or other emergency responders but the training sessions will equip them with
the necessary skills to help themselves and others in responding to disasters.”
Robertson added, “similar to the mandate given to members of the adult CERT
teams established on the sister islands of Anegada, Virgin Gorda and Jost Van
Dyke, the Teen CERT members will be required to act as disaster advocates in
their communities and among their peers, encouraging them to be disaster ready.
The ultimate objective is to achieve more disaster resilient communities. We
may not always be able to prevent a disaster but we can certainly take action
that will minimise the impact of that disaster.”
Jason Lyons, Disaster Risk Reduction Manager at the BVI Red Cross Society will
be facilitating some of the Teen CERT training sessions. He said their
involvement is in keeping with the goal of the Red Cross to bring disaster
preparedness into the community.
BVI Red Cross found it necessary to target the gap that exists as we endeavour
to build a culture of preparedness, a culture of mitigation here in the BVI.
This Teen CERT programme will help us to bridge that gap by developing the
skills of the youth and ensuring that they are better prepared to mitigate,”
Mr. Lyons said, adding, “ultimately we want to ensure that the BVI is better
prepared to deal with any eventuality.”
facilitators include DDM’s Deputy Director, Ms. Evangeline Inniss; Training
Officer, Ms. Carishma Hicks; Emergency Communications Officer, Mr. Jasen Penn
and Assistant Information Officer, Mr. Cecil Jeffrey; Sub Officer Mr. Geraldo
Barry of the BVI Fire and Rescue Services and Ms. Martine Allee of The Swim
is envisaged that the Teen CERT training will be considered as part of the
graduation prerequisites for secondary school students who are now required to
engage in community service.
students participating in Teen CERT represent the Elmore Stoutt High School,
Cedar International School, St. Georges Secondary and Seventh Day Adventist as
well as youth volunteers affiliated with the DDM and BVI Red Cross. The
programme will conclude on November 28 with a ceremony at the DDM headquarters.