The training in fire suppression and First Aid is being conducted as part of Professional Development Week for teachers, during which they are prepared for the academic year ahead. The training was initiated as part of the DDM’s 2014 capacity building programme and received immediate support from the stakeholders involved.
DDM’s Training Officer, Ms. Carishma Hicks said, “The DDM has been working with individual schools over the years to train teachers in various aspects of disaster management but we saw an opportunity to have greater numbers trained in a single setting and therefore approached the Training Division to facilitate the process.”
Training in fire suppression and First Aid training is a routine component of the SAFE School programme which is spearheaded by the DDM in collaboration with the Ministry and Department of Education. Under that programme, which seeks to ensure that schools meet basic health and safety requirements, schools are assessed and must achieve a score of 80-percent or higher to be eligible for SAFE School certification.
DDM’s Information and Education Manager, Ms. Philomena Robertson said, “It is important that we equip teachers with the necessary skills to avert crises in our schools. By training them in First Aid and fire suppression, we can rest assured that they are able to perform the necessary tasks and stabilise the situation while they await the arrival of professional emergency responders.”
Ms. Robertson also noted that the training helps to build resiliency in communities. “Schools are an integral part of our communities so we are first ensuring that the capability exists within that setting but the teachers also live in other communities and with this training, they will be able to provide that sort of assistance when needed.”
In the three training sessions hosted by the BVI Red Cross, close to 50 teachers were trained in First Aid while a similar number benefitted from the fire suppression training provided by the VIFRS.