Staff members of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) who participated in the Agency’s Active Shooter and Violence in the Workplace and Fire Safety Certificate Courses are singing the Agency’s praises following the conclusion of the training.
The In-house training was conducted by the Agency’s Training Department headed by Mrs. Lisa Bowleg (Training Coordinator). Mrs. Bowleg was assisted by Chief Petty Officer Romeiko Burrows, Royal Bahamas Defence Force, attached to NEMA (Active Shooter and Violence in the Workplace). The Fire Safety Training was conducted by Chief Petty Officer Burrows, Petty Officer Kenrio Ingraham (Royal Bahamas Defence Force attached to NEMA), and Mr. Reno Williams, all Certified Fire Safety Instructors. Twenty- two staff members benefitted from the training.
“The instructors did an excellent job. They allowed for a lot of interaction which made it more personal, more interesting and more rewarding for participants,” said Mrs. Carlianna Johnson-Frazier, a Filing Assistant at NEMA. “I look forward to participating in even more of the trainingnopportunities offered to staff members in the future as we continue to grow, not only as a workplace, but as professionals, and take whatever we learn into society.”
Miss Racquel Morrison, a General Service Worker at NEMA, said the training was “invaluable.”
“Usually when people hear about training they tend to look at it in somewhat of a negative way especially if they feel that the training does
not affect their personal lives; that a similar situation may never happen to them.
But I say to those persons that they ought to take advantage of all opportunities for training because it is better to be prepared for an emergency event and for it not to happen, as opposed to not being prepared and the event happens,” Miss Morrison said.
“This training now empowers us to be able to help others, to be able to guide others through these types of emergencies should they occur. The course provided us with information that was well worth knowing and information that we can all take into our various personal spaces to help keep those spaces as safe as possible.”
Ramesh Poitier, a Warehouse Assistant at the Agency, said both courses made him “even more aware of the need to be an observant employee.” “The Active Shooter and Violence in the Workplace Session taught us all about the need to be more aware, more understanding of fellow employees, and to be more observant in, and of, the workplace,” he said.
“There are times when persons can have situations going on in their personal lives that can spill over into the workplace and endanger the safety and security of the workplace if that situation is not dealt with in an appropriate manner. The Active Shooter and Violence in the Workplace Session helped us to understand how to better handle these situations as individuals and as members of the NEMA team.
“As an employee assigned to the Warehouse Department, the Fire Safety Training Course was a great opportunity for me to learn about the
additional safeguards that I can use to keep my area and the other areas safe and secure.”
Anton Duncombe, a security professional at NEMA, said participation in both courses helped him to better understand the expanded role the security team plays in helping to ensure not only the security of the workplace, its employees and its guests, but also their safety at NEMA because this additional knowledge will help me to help others at an even higher level,” he said.
“For example, there are persons in our country who do not like to provide their names to security professionals, or sign in, when they enter compounds across the country, but this is a necessary and important procedure in order to not only make sure that the compound is secure, but to also make sure that the security professional will be able to account for them in the event an emergency occurs during their visit.”
Training Coordinator Bowleg said the Active Shooter and Violence in the Workplace Training allowed participating staff to better understand that, while they may not be able to prevent an active shooting or violence of any kind from occurring in the workplace, their homes or individual communities, there are ways they can help to preserve their lives and the lives of others in the event they are present if an incident was to occur. “The significance of the training is to help staff become aware and sensitized to the fact that there is a real possibility that we can encounter this level of danger within workplaces, workspaces and also to implement plans to mitigate or to lessen loss of life or injury in the event something of this nature does occur,” Mrs. Bowleg said.
“As First Responders, we understand the level of danger and damage these incidents can cause in families and communities and that persons can be scarred for life and so our aim is to help our staff members and the Bahamian public become more sensitized, more aware, and to know that even though they may not be able to prevent an Active Shooter incident or other violence from happening, there are ways they can help to preserve lives – theirs and others.”
The Training was open to In-house staff from NEMA’s warehouse, clerical, administrative, support, security, technical, management, and logistics areas.
“NEMA is mandated to ensure that the country is prepared for all aspects of mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery,” Chief Petty Officer Burrows said. “We feel it necessary to also include our In-house staff in our training modules so that they too can have the requisite knowledge and training.” Mrs. Bowleg added: “As with everything we do, we expect the domino effect to be that staff who participate in our trainings, will use that knowledge and training to help build capacity in their individual homes, communities and social groupings.
“The greatest take-a-way from the training is that NEMA is committed to engaging our staff, and the wider community, in the levels of training that will help to build greater awareness and capacity in terms of readiness in the event an emergency occurs within their workplaces, their private home settings, and their individual communities,’ Mrs. Bowleg said.