Several community responders trained

Bridgetown, Barbados , March 12th, 2013 (Barbados Advocate) - Some 160 persons from eight countries across the region have taken part in the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training programme being offered by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA).


According to the Deputy Director of CDEMA, Elizabeth Riley, of those persons, 52 have been trained at the instructor level. Her comments came at the opening of a CERT workshop that is taking place this week at the Barbados Defence Force’s Paragon Base. This latest training, she added, builds on similar programmes that have been run in Montserrat; Providenciales, the Turks and Caicos Island; Suriname and Grenada, as she added that at the end of the training, participants will be able to conduct CERT operation in their individual communities, and those who are outstanding may be able to be trained as instructors to assist in the delivery of the programme in their respective countries.

She further explained that the CERT programme is designed to help community members protect themselves, their families, neighbours and communities in an emergency situation, which she contended, could mean the difference in lives saved before the arrival of emergency services.

“The CERT programme educates about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains persons in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organisation, and disaster medical operations. Participants for this course are required to undertake a number of physical outdoor activities and work as part of a team,” Riley added.

The Deputy Director’s comments came as she noted that every disaster, no matter what the scale, is essentially local and so it is important to empower communities to become more self-reliant in understanding the risks posed by hazards that affect them, to prepare for hazard impacts and support the response and early recovery from hazard impacts, which are central to the regional strategy for Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM). She explained that CDM deals with to all hazards, tackles all aspects of the disaster management cycle and promotes a culture of safety through an all-people approach.

With that in mind, she pointed out that this week’s training is being facilitated through the CDEMA, in conjunction with the Department of Emergency Management, under the ‘Enhancing Resilience to Reduce Vulnerability in the Caribbean’ (ERC) Project, which is being implemented by the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology, in partnership with the executing agency United Nations Development Programme and partner agencies CDEMA and the Italian Civil Protection Department. Financial support is being provided through Government of Italy.

This week’s course will train 30 persons from the CDEMA System Sub-region headed by Barbados and including St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica. (JRT)