Thursday, August 2, 2018 – Thirty teens from secondary schools across the Territory are developing their knowledge and skills in the area of Community Emergency Response (Teen-CERT) in a three-day training programme.
Training Manager Carishma Hicks said Teen-CERT is a programme adapted from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and implemented by the Department of Disaster Management.
Ms. Hicks said, “It aims to introduce teenagers to the national program of volunteers and offers them training in disaster preparedness and emergency response. The programme is designed to help teens understand how to safely and responsibly respond to hazards or emergencies that may happen in their homes, schools, and communities. ”
Ms. Hicks said the programme is completed in 20 hours and incorporates theoretical and practical skill development. The syllabus includes teaching the teens the essential components of emergency preparedness and response and how to apply these skills.
Ms. Hicks added, “Teenagers are trained to extinguish small fires, conduct light search and rescue, assist those who are injured, apply first aid and CPR, assist emergency responders, identify and anticipate hazards, use a VHF radio, reduce fire hazards in the homes and schools and help reduce survivor stress.”
Teen-CERT is recognised by the Ministry of Education and Culture as a key component of their Community Service programme.
Permanent Secretary Dr. Marcia Potter said the programme has been formally adopted by the Ministry as part of its SMART Schools programme.
Dr. Potter said, “In the past, training has been provided to various secondary schools throughout the Territory and is even included in after-school programmes at some schools. It is important that we are able to offer training to our secondary school students as this initiative helps to prepare our youth to respond to the various hazards that now frequently impact our communities.”
She further said, “This offering of Teen CERT comes at an ideal time when children have completed their school year and parents are now looking for structured and meaningful summer programmes for them. We are so very pleased that we can work with the UNICEF, DDM, and ADRA to make this possible.”
The students come from a variety of secondary schools throughout the Territory including Seventh-day Adventist Secondary, Cedar School, and the Elmore Stoutt High School. Students who are visiting the Territory are also participating in the training.
The training this week is being offered through a financial grant provided by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) through the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) and is aimed at supporting the recovery efforts of the Ministry of Education and Culture.
The training is also being supported by the Virgin Islands Fire and Rescue Service and Dwayne Strawn of the Caribbean Emergency Responders Training Academy, a local emergency response company based in the BVI.