Written by on 11 March 2019

The Office of Disaster Management (ODM) collaborated with the Rotary Club of Dominica, and the Downtown Chattanooga Rotary Club in Tennessee, successfully completed its First Emergency Medical Responders (EMR) training which ran from March 5-8, 2019. The training was conducted at the Marigot Tourism Information Craft Center in Marigot.

The course provided 30 hours of training to participants and targeted 13 CERT volunteers six (6) females and seven (7) males, who have been trained and is part of the Community Emergency Response Team in their community teaching them to administer pre-hospital care to patients in a variety of conditions, from cardiac and stroke victims to traumatic injuries and assisting advanced level EMS personnel in triage and transport.

The training was conducted by Three (3) instructors Mr. George Codding EMT for 35 years and his assistant, Ms. Hailey Gault, a young dynamic woman and excellent role model for women. At present Ms. Gault is completing her nursing degree and planning to become a helicopter flight nurse and currently works as an A-EMT and Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) in the Trauma Bay at the 10th largest Public health care system in the United States. Mr Jim Gault is the Deputy Chief at Waldens Ridge Emergency Service in Chattanooga, TN. He has 37 years experience in response to emergencies and is an adjunct instructor for the state of Tennessee Fire Academy.

Program Officer at the ODM, Donalson Frederick notes “The Emergency Medical Responders Training is one step higher for the CERT trained individuals. This course will directly impact 13 Community Emergency Response Team Members in areas more distant from the capital, to include the Kalinago, Marigot and Calibishie. Having properly trained Community Emergency Response Team members, communities and individuals will have the foundation needed to handle everyday accidents and medical needs, as well as the structure to handle larger emergency situations, whether natural hazards or from other sources.

By training CERTS on Dominica and identifying future potential trainers, the ODM is developing the Emergency Response capacity not only for Dominica but for the region as well.

Dr. Catherine Colby Representative of the Downtown Chattanooga Rotary Club and Chair of their International Service Committee notes that these trainings have the ability to assist in the development of peaceful and sustainable societies. Specifically, this project has provided much needed emergency response knowledge at the community level, supporting island-wide resilience to a variety of situations. The need for CERTs to be trained as EMR was abundantly clear after Hurricane Maria smashed across Dominica in September of 2017.

Dr Colby’s connection to Dominica is longstanding. As a Community Development Specialist she worked in the electricity sector on Dominica in 2006. Because of these connections, along with the contacts made after Hurricane Maria, there are strong personal and professional relationships between the Chattanooga and Dominica Rotary Clubs.

The programme concluded with a closing ceremony where participants were commended for their hard work throughout, despite the festive season. Successful participants were awarded certificates of completion, and were also provided with some medical supplies to assist with their operation within their communities.

The Ministry of Environment, Climate Resilient, Disaster Management and Urban Renewal and the Office of Disaster Management takes this opportunity to extent special thanks to Dr. Catherine Colby and Deputy Chief Jim Gault, and Rotarians from the Downtown Chattanooga Rotary Club. President Mr Cecil Shillingford and Rotarians of the Rotary Club of Dominica. Instructors, Mr. George Codding and Ms. Hailey Gault, the Nation Disaster Coordinator and staff of O.D.M, and to the participants who made this training a success.

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