Several residents from Cane Garden Bay and Brewers Bay are now trained in basic life-support and rescue techniques after taking part in a recent session hosted by the Community Emergency Response Team programme.

From March 15-23, participants learned the basics of fire suppression, search-and-rescue, first aid and CPR, according to Government Information Services.

“The reality is that during emergency situations or hazard impacts, the members of the community are usually the first on the scene, and so it is absolutely critical that these individuals are knowledgeable of basic lifesaving techniques which they can apply to those in need until professionals arrive,” said Jason Lyons, disaster risk reduction officer at the BVI Red Cross.

DDM Training Officer Carishma Hicks was pleased with the level of participation.

“This is the first time Cane Garden Bay and Brewers Bay residents have been trained in CERT, and while CERT training is necessary for all communities as part of the disaster risk reduction efforts, the training for Cane Garden and Brewers Bay residents was particularly important given the fact that the community is prone to storm surges and flooding,” she said.

Ms. Hicks added that DDM officials worked hard to encourage participation.

“After house to house visits and engagement of churches, we finally got sufficient persons to receive the training and to form a team,” she said. “It was essential that we establish a team that can be equipped with the skills and tools necessary to reduce the impacts of the hazards that can critically affect these communities.”

CERT training began in the VI in 2012 and is an ongoing project. To date, CERT teams have been trained and established in The Valley, Virgin Gorda; on Jost Van Dyke; on Anegada; and on Tortola in West End, Purcell, East End, Carrot Bay, Road Town and Sea Cows Bay.

The next CERT course will be offered in North Sound, Virgin Gorda from April 18-26. Residents of the area asked to register for this training as soon as possible by calling DDM at 468-4200 or e-mailing

The recent training was funded under the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development through the BVI Red Cross. It also received support from the DDM and the Virgin Islands Fire and Rescue Service.