Monday, February 20, 2012

FOCUS: U.S. Virgin Islands Teen CERT Program

Virgin Islands Territorial
Emergency Management Agency

February 7, 2012

VITEMA, St. Croix Rescue Kicks Off Teen CERT at Elena Christian Jr. High School


The Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA) and the St. Croix Rescue Squad, on Wednesday, will welcome Elena Christian Junior High School students to the Teen CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) pilot program. A brief opening ceremony is scheduled for in the school’s auditorium.

Teen CERT, an offshoot of the adult CERT program, falls under the umbrella of the Citizen Corp Council, a national organization created by President Bush in 2002 to help coordinate volunteer activities that will make communities safer, stronger, and better prepared to respond to any emergency situation. 

Thirty-six St. Elena Christian students signed up to join Teen CERT, becoming among the first teen groups to be certified in basic disaster response. Between Wednesday and Friday, the students will be taught skills such as fire safety and how to suppress, light search and rescue, disaster medical operations and team organization.

Certified CERT trainers with the St. Croix Rescue Academy are serving as instructors.

On Sunday, the program will culminate with a mock full-scale disaster exercise and certificate presentation at the St. Croix Rescue Academy in Five Corners. The mock exercise is set to begin at approximately and will test all of the disaster response and management skills students learned in the classroom.

Completion of the program means that the Elena Christian Junior High School now has within its campus, students qualified to assist others following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help. Teen CERT members also are encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community.

“We are proud of the students who volunteered for this training,” VITEMA Director Elton Lewis said. “It shows that they are concerned with the well-being of their families and the community as a whole and we applaud them for that. I also want to thank the Elena Christian school administrators for allowing us to bring the program to their campus.”

VITEMA launched the Teen CERT program in the Virgin Islands in April of last year at the Seventh Day Adventist High School as part of pilot program created to educate and train student-volunteers nationwide in preparing for disasters that impact their areas. Teen CERT certification is also available to faith-based communities, youth organizations and members of clubs and civic organizations.

The media is invited to visit the program at the Elena Christian Junior High School between Wednesday and Friday and at the St. Croix Rescue Academy on Sunday. The training calendar is attached for planning purposes. 

For more information about Teen CERT contact VITEMA’s Deputy Director for Preparedness Al Javois at 773-2244 ext. 222.

Learn more about Teen CERT: http://www.vitema.gov/cert

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