In a continued effort to build disaster resilient communities throughout the country, the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, facilitated a number of training exercises toward this end. Over the past two months NEMA has ensured that core group of residents become certified in Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) programmes aimed at managing crises in their respective communities.
The CERT is a programme which educates volunteers about disaster preparedness for the hazards that may impact their immediate surroundings and trains them in basis disaster response skills such as fire safety, light search, team organization, and disaster medical
For these types of training, NEMA has partnered with the United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) and The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), an agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security. Captain Stephen Russell, Director of NEMA underscored the importance of such a partnership for The Bahamas, through NEMA. “NEMA is extremely pleased of the partnership with the USNORTHCOM, and now FEMA in the planning and executing of the basic community emergency response training as well as the training of trainers programmes,” Capt Russell said. The CERT teams are to augment the volunteer of fire fighting teams and swift water rescue teams that have been trained and established on a number of Family Islands. “This is in keeping with our ongoing pursuit to ensure that our communities are prepared to response to natural or man-made, and technological hazards or disasters,” Capt Russell said.
Two separate training exercises were held at NEMA on Gladstone Road. The first, held May 27 –June 1, 2019 involved 24 participants from Social Services, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, Police Fire Services, University of The Bahamas, Bahamas Red Cross, Public Hospital’s
Authority/National Emergency Medical Services, Cabinet Office and NEMA staff. The second training session was held July 1 – 5 and 15 personnel from the mentioned areas were selected to become instructors. This particular training seeks to develop individuals to become CERT programme managers and provide support training for residents in the local community.
“It is NEMA’s aim over the course of the next 3 years,to ensure that teams are developed in all of our islands that can act as first responders in support of the authorized authorities, to deal with emergencies in the local district of the islands,” Capt Russell said
He explained: “The CERT teams are to augment the volunteer of fire fighting teams and swift water rescue teams that have been trained and established on a number of islands in our ongoing pursuit to ensure that our communities are prepared to response to natural or man- made and technological hazards or disasters.” The instructors were: Andy Burrows, Brian Kennedy and Tyler Krska from FEMA, Jena Dagett from USNORTHCOM and Gayle Outten-Moncur, NEMA.
The participants underwent up to 30 hours of training in seven CERT Basic Course covering:
Disaster Preparedness: Addressed hazards specific to the community.
Fire Suppression: Covered fire chemistry, hazardous materials, fire hazards and fire suppression strategies
Medical Operations Part I: Participants practiced diagnosing and treating airway obstruction, bleeding and shock by using simple triage and rapid treatment techniques.
Medical Operations Part II: Covered evaluating patients by doing a head to toe assessment, establishing a medical treatment area and performing basic first aid.
Light Search and Rescue Operations: Participants learn about search and rescue planning, size-up, search techniques, rescue techniques and rescuer safety.
Psychology and Team Organization: Covered signs and symptoms that might be experienced by the disaster victim and workers, and addresses CERT organization and management.
Course Review and Disaster Simulation: Participants reviewed and practiced the skills that they have learned during the previous six sessions in a disaster activity.
More images from the training below: