By MATT MAURA
Bahamas Information Services
#NEWBIGHT, Cat Island, August 25, 2022 – Officials from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Department of Local Government kicked off a five-day Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training in New Bight, Cat Island on Monday.
Conducted by the National Emergency Management Agency Training Unit, headed by Mrs. Lisa E. Bowleg, the CERT training will cover areas such as disaster medical operations, fire safety and utility controls, disaster preparedness, CERT organization, disaster psychology, CERT and terrorism, and research and light rescue.
Instructors include: Chief Petty Officer Romeiko Burrows, Royal Bahamas Defense Force (attached to NEMA); Mr. Frederick Johnson, Medical Operations Instructor; Master Kenrio Ingraham, Royal Bahamas Defense Force (attached to NEMA); and Leading Woman Marine, Karia Smith, Royal Bahamas Defense Force.
Participants underwent a pre-test on opening day and will participate in a post-test on Thursday. The training concludes Friday with a final exercise and closing ceremonies.
Family Island Administrator for Cat Island, Mrs. Kate Williamson, applauded the collaboration between NEMA and the Department of Local Government. She urged participants to “collect as much information as possible”.
“It’s the most dynamic training you’ll receive in your life,” Ms. Williamson told her audience during Monday’s soft open. “It is indeed a great day for Cat Island (because) whenever the opportunity for additional training opportunities and more knowledge arises, we must take advantage of those opportunities. Community Training emergency response teams is essential for all communities, but especially Family Island communities like ours; and therefore on behalf of the Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Island Family Affairs, Hon. Clay Sweeting, and of course our representative, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. Philip E. Davis, we commend the Director (Director of NEMA, Captain Stephen Russell) and his team of instructors, led by Mrs. Lisa Bowleg, for providing us with this opportunity. We certainly appreciate them for this opportunity and my word to you today, Cat Islanders, is to make sure you use this time wisely. Gather all the information you can gather. Make this opportunity worth it. I consider this training a privilege,” added Ms. Williamson.
The Cat Island training is part of the Agency’s drive to create a culture of preparedness/response across all islands of The Bahamas, by creating groups of community volunteers who are trained and equipped with the skills to prepare for and respond effectively to disasters and/or life-threatening emergencies to keep their communities safe until professional first responders can arrive.