CDC collaborating with Exxon to roll out Voluntary Emergency Response Team programme

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Acting Director General, Civil Defence Commission, Lieutenant-Colonel Kester Craig

In keeping with their objective to build capacity for disaster risk management, Civil Defence Commission (CDC) in collaboration with ExxonMobil will be rolling out a Voluntary Emergency Response Team (VERT) programme in February 2019.

According to a release from the Department of Public Information (DPI), the VERT programme will be executed over one year and will see 30 volunteers being trained in a number of areas.

Some of these include Damage Assessment and Needs Analysis; Community Based Disaster Risk Management; First Aid Emergency Medical Response; Oil Spill Response, Natural Hazards and Disaster Risk Management among others.

Director General (ag) of the Civil Defence Commission (CDC), Lieutenant Colonel, Kester Craig, told the DPI that while there was an active volunteer programme, the commission recognised the need to have “highly skilled” volunteers in the area of disaster risk management.

“The volunteers will be trained to respond in the community in which they work, secondly to respond within the community, thirdly within the region and finally to respond in the Caribbean as part of the Regional Disaster Risk Management System,” the acting CDC head explained.

Lieutenant Colonel Craig noted that Guyana is well positioned to lend assistance to Caribbean islands. He told DPI, that the programme would see volunteers being trained in both the theoretical and practical aspects.

“They would have put in hours in the communities, and they have to conduct assessments… They have to participate in operations and spend time in the fields.”

After completing the one-year programme, the participates would become fully certificated as a VERT.

It was noted that measures would be put in place for the programme to be conducted biannually.

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