Fourteen residents of North Sound Garden Citizens Association in Bodden Town are certified emergency responders after eight weeks of training.
The group received certificates and emergency kits at a graduation ceremony held at the Savannah United Church Hall Saturday afternoon.
Handing out certificates were Red Cross Director Jondo Obi and Deputy Governor Franz Manderson. Mr. Manderson reminded the team that the work they did could save lives and congratulated them on taking the initiative to get involved. Bodden Town MLA Dwyane Seymour thanked the team by saying, “We never realise how import these sectors are until there is a disaster and organisations within the community such as these could make things that much easier with two groups in Bodden Town and a third on the way”.
He will be asking government for passes so they can go in when a disaster happens.
The group was awarded after completing the course, which involved first aid, CPR, fire safety and suppression, disaster preparedness, stress management, disaster psychology, shelter management, initial damage assessment, vulnerability and capacity assessment.
“The programme started in the community with the group meeting on Friday nights at the university college for training,” said Brenda Dawkins, team president. “The aim of the programme as it was introduced to us by the Hazard Management team was to equip community members so they could have more resources and techniques that are need as first responders where hazard management teams were unable to get into a community,” she said.
According to Ms Dawkins, the team is now equipped with the tools they need in terms of training.
“What this has done is to strengthen us as community members and given us the resilience to identify hazards in the community and what to do in an aftermath of a disaster,” she said. “The whole overall aim of the programme is to save lives and to protect property.”
Ms Dawkins said one thing that stood out for many people was the importance of a fire extinguisher in the home. Many people never knew that the equipment had to be reassessed after being in the home for so many years. She also added the group was able to identify vulnerable areas and people in the community who might need help.
“This is just the beginning; the great work starts when we will have to put all the things we have been taught into practice” she said. “This is jut the tip of the iceberg but I think we are ready to do the greatest good for the community and the country on a whole.”
Speaking a little on the North Sound Gardens Citizens Association, Ms Dawkins said it was not as vibrant as she would like but they were working on it. Right now they were working on assisting an 18-month-old child in the community who has a brain tumour, the park, planting trees and an about-to-be-launched neighbourhood watch.