Seventy-two students recently completed an intensive three-day teen Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) course, which has enabled them to provide assistance in the event of various emergency situations.
A government media release said the training sessions were held through a partnership with the Ministry of Education and the Department of Disaster Management (DDM).
DDM’s Training Officer Carishma Hicks said the students involved in the programme ranged from ages 12 to 18 were exposed to the practical and theoretical fundamentals of responding to a number of emergency situations that may impact the territory.
“The students learned vital skills in first aid, emergency communications, fire safety and suppression, light search and rescue and disaster psychology … These skills help them to go out and make their homes, communities and schools safer. This, in turn, helps the BVI to be more resilient,” Hicks said.
Education Minister Dr Natalio Wheatley said more emergency response training will be made available to schools in the BVI in 2019 to help expand the SMART Schools initiative.
“The disasters of 2017 taught us that we need to build resilience in the territory and particularly within our education sector … Naturally, this includes making sure the staff and students within our schools are properly prepared and have the necessary tools to respond to an emergency and to assist the professionals once they arrive on the scene,” Dr Wheatley stated.
Meanwhile, Trevianne John who is a student at the Bregado Flax Educational Centre said the training has now equipped her to be able to identify and respond to incidences such as seizures and has given her a different view of the world.
“Now I know things that can cause fires and can inform persons about how they can be safer,” the youngster said.
The Teen CERT training was held on Virgin Gorda and Tortola and has seen a major increase in participants since its introduction in the territory in 2013 when only 12 students participated.
The initiative was funded through the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF).
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