Press Release

Department of Disaster Management
Release Date:
Monday, 30 May 2016 - 3:15pm

Twenty nine individuals from several Government departments are now equipped with emergency response skills.

The officers from Her Majesty’s Customs, Her Majesty’s Prison, Airports Authority and the Territorial Search and Rescue Team (TSART) benefitted from the ‘Emergency Care and Treatment’ (ECAT) training organised by the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) with support from the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO).

PAHO’s Regional Trainer Peter Burgess facilitated the two training sessions conducted over a two week period.  The first session was held from May 16 to 20 and trained TSART members while the second training was conducted from May 23 to 27 and targeted individuals from the other participating departments.

Mr. Burgess explained, “The scope of the training allows for the development of key skills needed to assess and care for patients at the scene of injury before professional assistance arrives.  The skills taught to the participants include lifting and moving patients, airway management, patient assessment and spine immobilisation, among others. Once the techniques are administered quickly and correctly by the first responders it will make a huge difference between life and death for persons in need of medical care”.

Other topics covered during the training include understanding the human body, trauma and medical emergencies, introduction to triage and the Incident Command System.

Mr. Burgess added, “The training delivered was predominantly practical but also involved some theory.  Greater emphasis is placed on the practical component because when persons are in need of care the first responder cannot rely on a book to guide him or her through the process.  He or she must be able to intervene with a hands-on approach and administer specific techniques based on the type of injury determined after they have assessed the patient.”

The ECAT course is part of the department’s emergency capacity development mandate and one of the compulsory training activities identified in the Competency Framework for the Virgin Islands National Disaster Management Programme.

DDM’s Training Officer, Carishma Hicks said “We are working to ensure that as many persons as possible within the Virgin Islands are knowledgeable and prepared to respond during emergency and disaster situations because many times ordinary civilians are at the scene of an emergency before the professional team arrives."

Ms Hicks added, “The persons trained over the past two weeks are part of emergency response and boarder control agencies where situations for medical care interventions may arise. Therefore, it was important that these individuals receive the necessary training which empowers them to protect themselves and save lives.

PAHO and DDM have been collaborating to host ECAT training sessions since the early 2000s.  Persons who successfully complete the course received an ECAT certificate from the PAHO valid for three years.