NEMA continues to build on the Disaster Management Infrastructure through CERT

Basseterre, 20th September, 2013 – (NEMA) – Despite a seemingly quiet Hurricane Season, NEMA has been busy building resilience to disasters at the community and national levels, throughout the year. In fact, Homeland Security Permanent Secretary, Mr. Elvis Newton remarked at the closure of an exercise held last month in Sandy Point, that NEMA has been more active and even more productive in 2013, than the Season.

So far this year, NEMA has rolled out a new medley of public service announcements which are currently being aired via local media in addition to engaging in a number of workshops geared at increasing and strengthening public awareness and capacity.

In August, the Sandy Point community welcomed participants to a one week Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training organised by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, in conjunction with NEMA.

Districts Coordinator, Mrs. Telca Wallace says that the intent is to increase the capacity of national response teams, by staggering the districts so that a greater cross section of communities, not just the areas where the sessions take place, may benefit from the training. Accordingly, preparations are ongoing to repeat the CERT training at the Cayon Community Centre, beginning next week, from 23rd to 27th September.

CERT has become a significant aspect of NEMA’s efforts to reinforce communities’ response capabilities through training. Thirty participants have been targeted, as with the Sandy Point experience, but with all local instructors this time around. Graduates of the Sandy Point exercise, will also be among the supervisors in Cayon.

The CERT programme trains individuals in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organisation, and disaster medical operations. CERT participants for this course will be required to participate in a number of physical, outdoor activities and work as team members and leaders, from 8am to 4pm daily, with some exercises continuing well into the night.

It is funded by the Italian International Centre on Environmental Monitoring (CIMA) Research Foundation through the Enhancing Resilience to Reduce Vulnerability in the Caribbean Region (ERC) Project and CIDA, UK Aid, and AUS AID through the CDM-HIP Programme being implemented by CDEMA. It is being led by the recently established CDEMA technical roving team which is a multi disciplined operation made available to provide capacity building and other critical emergency support, to the eighteen member states of the organisation.

The training will conclude on Friday, September 27th, 2013, with a brief closing ceremony. Members of the media are invited to access participants and trainers at that time.

For more information, please contact the Districts Coordinator, Mrs. Telca Wallace at 466-5100 or by visiting the NEMA office at Lime Kiln, Basseterre.

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