LaRoda: CERT training enables community volunteers to receive training that can help keep communities safe
Nassau, Bahamas – Disaster preparedness is a shared responsibility that requires everyone’s involvement, Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister, Hon. Myles K. LaRoda, told a recent National Emergency Management Agency CERT program grad.
Mr. LaRoda, who is responsible for disaster preparedness, management and recovery, among other functions, joined officials from the National Emergency Management Agency to encourage even more Bahamian residents to become trained volunteers who “can help quickly when needed”.
The Minister of State said Community Volunteers in the Bahamas can help keep their communities safe during a disaster or emergency by joining a disaster response organization (such as CERT). This act, he said, will allow them to receive the “appropriate training” that will enable them to respond effectively to emergencies and/or disasters until professional first responders arrive.
Mr. LaRoda applauded the graduating volunteers for their decision to join the ranks of community volunteers who have received certification through the NEMA/CERT training program.
“Life-threatening injuries require immediate action to prevent an injured person from dying. Those closest to a seriously injured person are in the best position to provide first aid,” said Minister of State LaRoda. “CERT offers an approach to training and organizing volunteers that professional first responders can rely on during disaster situations, allowing them to focus on more complex tasks.
“By joining a disaster response organization and receiving the proper training before an emergency occurs, you can support first responders and keep your communities safe. By working together, everyone can help to protect the nation from harm and to keep it resilient when hit by hazards such as a hurricane or a pandemic.
Addressing the closing ceremony and the presentation of certificates for the last 18 CERT volunteers in the country, Mr. LaRoda said that it was essential to build a culture of preparedness in the Bahamas.
(CERT training was a collaboration between NEMA and the Baillou Hill Estates Homeowners Association and Neighborhood Watch. CERT trainings were held March 21-25 and March 28-April 1 at the Chapel on the Hill Compound, Tonique Williams-Darling Highway Thirty-two community volunteers successfully completed both sessions.)
“Emergencies and disasters can strike in our communities at any time, and often when we least expect them,” LaRoda said. “In order to be prepared to respond effectively to emergencies and disasters, the involvement of communities is crucial.”
The Community Emergency Response Team program educates community volunteers on disaster/emergency preparedness for hazards that may affect their areas and trains them in basic disaster response skills such as fire safety and utility control, light search and rescue, disaster medical operations (including Basic First Aid and CPR training), disaster preparedness, CERT and terrorism, CERT organization and disaster psychology.
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