National youth organization, the Youth Emergency Action Committee (YEAC) hosted their annual Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) programme empowering youngsters with the skills necessary to confidently respond to emergency situations. The training programme furthers the process of citizens understanding their responsibility in preparing for disaster. It also increases their ability to safely help themselves, their family and their neighbours. This is the third CERT training being implemented by YEAC Grenada using the adaptations made by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) for the Caribbean context. CERT trainings were previously conducted in July 2017 and August 2018.
YEAC Project Manager, Rose-Anne Redhead is grateful to see the continuation of this necessary programme, “We are happy and grateful to have the Sandals Foundation partner with us in making this year’s training a reality through their financial contribution of approximately 60% of the budget. CERT is currently the signature training for YEAC Grenada as it teaches the youth the absolute necessity of integrating their individual and practical response skills with the mindset of teamwork, staying on task, situational awareness and effective decision making even when bone tired so that they can meet the goal of ‘the greatest good for the greatest number’ as community emergency responders. This they did well, as youth invariably do, with enthusiasm, energy, and enjoyment.”
Notably, participants composed of an even split of young men and women, of which six (6) were hearing- impaired. They were put through the paces with theoretical sessions each followed by a practical. Techniques explored spanned lessons in knot tying, map reading and navigation to light search and rescue. Additionally, content on disaster psychology, emergency communications, initial damage assessment and the incident command system were also covered.
Lesia Samuel, participant and representative of Deaf Voices Grenada felt enlightened after completing the training, “I did the CERT training because I wanted to help the deaf community to learn the same things that ‘hearing’ people are learning. I learnt a lot, it was hard, there is much more to practice. I learnt certain skills to save my life. I want to tell the people ‘yes we can’. The deaf can do the same as the hearing community.”
For Raul Charles, it was intense, “The night exercise was challenging, it really put us to the test because we had to think about what we were going to do before we did it. We did make mistakes but honestly, it’s something we must learn from. It was a practice so that when an actual incident occurs, we can respond right.”
Executive Director at the Sandals Foundation, Heidi Clarke shared that the support of the emergency response training was paramount for the philanthropic arm of Sandals Resorts International.
“We live in a region that is susceptible disasters so it important for us all to know how to properly respond and help others which sometimes can be the difference between life and death. Having community members develop expertise in emergency response builds the capacity of the island to recover faster in times of need. We salute these young people at YEAC for having the insight to understand the importance of this type of training and getting involved. We at the Sandals Foundation hope to continue supporting efforts like this in Grenada and across the region.”