JIS News

At least 304 young people are participating in an emergency response training programme, which is aimed at strengthening the country’s mitigation capacity during a disaster.
The four-week course, organised by the National Youth Service (NYS) in collaboration with the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), is being held at the NYS training site at Eco-Village in Chestervale, rural St. Andrew.
The training, which began on May 20 and is scheduled to end on Wednesday, June 17, involves instruction in first aid, disaster assessment, hazard mapping, land search and rescue, drought and bush fire management, shelter management, biodiversity, emergency management, radio training, and fire safety.
Other agencies involved in the training are the Jamaica Red Cross, the Jamaica Fire Brigade, Jamaica Constabulary Force and the Jamaica Defence Force.
Executive Director of the NYS, Rev. Adinhair Jones, told JIS News that participants are drawn from all parishes, with particular attention to the disaster zones. “We are paying attention to the history of disaster and also the gap in disaster management and mitigation and we have gone to those particular zones to do our selection,” he informed.
At the end of the training, the participants are expected to provide the first line of response in their communities during an emergency or in the event of a massive rescue and search operation.
This is the fourth batch of young persons to be trained by the NYS under the programme, which was launched four years ago. About 1,200 persons have received training so far.
“What we are trying to do is to build up a resource of young people, who can readily respond at their community level wherever they are called and to give a rational and practical response to a crisis situation arising,” Rev. Jones told JIS News.
“I expect that the training and the kind of awakening of their social conscience and putting them in a position to understand that they could make a difference in terms of helping people and helping the country, that a majority of these young people would be willing to come forward and to give the kind of assistance based on their training,” he expressed.
A similar programme, the Emergency Response Initiative was launched on May 29 by Prime Minister, The Hon. Bruce Golding at the St. Mary High School. The programme, which aims to enhance the country’s preparation and response capacity in disaster management, involves the mobilisation and training of more than 900 persons in disaster management, infrastructure maintenance and disaster first response.

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