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Community Disaster Response Teams become certified

Posted: Friday, July 3, 2020. 8:00 am CST.

By BBN Staff: On Thursday, residents from several communities in Belize City, got their certificates symbolizing the completion of their training to become Community Disaster Response Team (CDRT) members.

Though the training was completed back in March, the certificate ceremony had to be pushed back due to the countrywide lockdown and state of emergency regulations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CDRT was assembled through a joint project between the Belize Red Cross and Belize City Council, as well as other partners such as the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO), Belize National Fire Service, and Belize Search and Rescue, which provided specialized training for the participants.

Lilly Bowman, Director General of the Belize Red Cross explained that the training was the main component of a larger project called “Capacity Building initiatives in the Caribbean” which was geared towards strengthening the capacity of national societies and communities to respond to disasters and crisis.

The 14 module training covered topics such as general disaster information, disaster preparedness, disaster response, how to manage an emergency operations center, handling communication devices, area mapping, how to conduct assessments and surveys, search and rescue training. Bowman noted that while there were between 5-15 participants from communities such as Lake Independence, Collet, and Port Loyola, the project has indirectly impacted over 1,000 people.

“The team is intended to grow as they see fit within their community, so they can pass on the knowledge that they have to others that they recruit. And every now and then the Belize Red Cross offers a refresher so that we could bring them up to date if any systems or procedures change.” Bowman said.

Following the certification ceremony, the Belize Red Cross also handed over a donation of equipment to be used in disaster situations, which included pickaxes, shovels, generator, hard hats, response, raincoats rubber boots, headlamps, handheld radios, chainsaws, and Personal Protective Equipment PPE for COVID-19 response, to total value over $20,000.


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