First Responders PAHO Certified

The Valley, Anguilla, December 10, 2014 (Department of Disaster Management) - Some first responders in Anguilla are now better prepared to deal with a Mass Casualty Incident having participated in a number of Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) certified courses.

Over the past few weeks PAHO instructor Peter Burgess has been in Anguilla ensuring that the requisite training and assessment took place. Coordinated by the Department of Disaster Management and the Health Working Group of the Community Services Sub-Committee of the National Disaster Management Committee the 5 day (40-hour) Mass Casualty Management (MCM) Course, 5 day (40-hour) Emergency Care and Treatment in Disasters (ECAT) course and 24 hour Incident Command Course were held at the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) in the Valley.

Participants were drawn from the Royal Anguilla Police Force, Anguilla Fire and Rescue Service, Health Authority of Anguilla Medical staff, Anguilla Red Cross, Department of Disaster Management, Customs, Immigration, Anguilla Air and Sea Port Authority, Ministry of Infrastructure and Ministry of Health.

Thirty (30) persons attended and participated in the MCM Course. Mr Burgess was assisted by Mr Steve McDowall, EMS Coordinator and Mrs Serene Carter-Davis, retired Chief Nursing Officer, trained MCM Instructors who were being recertified and Ms Susan Hodge, Programme Officer in the DDM who was being assessed to become an associate MCM instructor. The MCM Course focuses on the establishment and maintenance of a functional Mass Casualty Management system as a mechanism for maximizing the saving of lives, preserving function and reducing suffering in a mass casualty incident. It emphasizes prompt response with early pertinent information-sharing, scene coordination and patient management by response agencies, stressing an inter-sectoral perspective.

A night-time full scale exercise was held at the end of the course and formed part of the final assessment.

The ECAT Course is designed to develop officers’ skills as first responders, specifically in the area of patient care and assessment at the scene of injury, illness or catastrophe. The sixteen (16) ECAT participants were exposed to training which allows them to play a key role as first responders and provide quick and appropriate interventions on the scene to save lives. Continuous assessment and an individual practical exam based on techniques learnt was taken by participants at the end of the course

The ICS Course designed for senior officers who will take command at a scene was an intense 3-day course which culminated in a table-top exercise. The exercise scenario was based on a number of incidents occurring at the Annual Caribbean Beach Party which takes place in Sandy Ground. The participants were split into two groups and asked to develop a contingency plan, action log and incident action plan.

All courses are certified by PAHO and included pre and post multiple choice exams, as well as the practical examination.

Ms Susan Hodge, DDM Programme Officer who organised the courses, would like on behalf of the DDM and Community Services Sub-Committee, to place on record sincere gratitude to PAHO for supporting this very important and timely training and to Mr Burgess for so ably and willingly imparting his knowledge to ensure Anguilla’s first responder are better able to respond.


CDEMA Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency. Resilience Way, Lower Estate, St. Michael Tel: (246) 434-4880, Fax: (246) 271-3660
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