By year’s end, small business operators and close to 300 residents are set to build their capacity in disaster preparedness, mitigation and response as the Sandals Foundation partners with the Youth Emergency Action Committee (YEAC) to deliver its highly successful community emergency response training.
Developing on its reputation as, “one of the main go-to entities on the island providing an irreplaceable resource in the areas of disaster relief response and emergencies”, this year’s YEAC programme will see to a 2-pronged intervention with a Community Disaster Training series targeting 40 small service providers within the tourism industry across 6 communities, and a Training of Trainers workshop in Community Emergency Response Team Training (CERT) methods to expand the reach and enhance response capacity across the island.
In 2021, the Sandals Foundation partnered with YEAC to implement its youth training programme, however, according to its executive director Heidi Clarke, this year’s programme holds an even more special significance. “As we continue the yearlong celebration of our parent company’s 40th anniversary, we are excited to be partnering with YEAC to build the capacity of tourism connected entities by identifying 40 small service providers within the tourism industry like visitor attractions sites, tours, community festival organisers and others whose operations can be strengthened with improved capacity in disaster prevention, mitigation and response.”
From now until January 2023, tourism entities throughout Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique will gain insight on how to prepare for and respond to disasters including public health incidents. Areas of study will include general safety protocols, Covid-19 and communicable diseases, hazards and hazardous materials, water safety, first aid and CPR.
The Concord Falls in St John, according to YEAC Project Manager, Rose-Anne Redhead, will be a key beneficiary of the community disaster training, helping to strengthen its services and offerings to visitors. “These beautiful falls nestled high in the Concord mountain have long been a popular site for both local and non-resident visitors, however, it has also been known as a site where tragically, drownings have taken place. The community disaster training can greatly enhance safety for team members and visitors alike and for that we are very excited,” said Redhead.
Noting the expansive reach of the tourism industry, the Sandals Foundation executive director affirmed that the philanthropic arm’s investment in programmes such as these is an investment into the livelihood of Caribbean residents.
“Tourism reaches into the corners of communities, touching the lives of millions of families. As our islands continue to see a resurgence of international visitors and as locals venture out to explore the wonders of their natural resources and eco-tours, we are committed to supporting programmes that create safer spaces for locals and visitors alike to completely enjoy their experiences and sustain these livelihood streams for the many persons that depend on their success,” added Clarke.
Recently, 10 individuals comprising 6 officers of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) and 4 YEAC members completed trainers’ certification in the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) methods, equipping them to train other instructors in the same. “We are so happy with the recent Train the Trainer workshop. These newly trained trainers are now able to equip others right across the island to not only safely respond but prevent and mitigate the damage or injuries that may result from natural and man-made hazards including floods, cyclones, landslides, earthquakes, forest fires, rock falls and more.”
The CERT programme developed by the Los Angeles City Fire Department and adopted by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) enables the development of multifunctional response teams to utilise skills and tools to provide immediate assistance to victims as well as manage emergency incidents until the arrival of first response authorities.
The all-risk all-hazard training is designed to help persons protect themselves, their family, neighbours and neighbourhoods in emergency situations and forms part of the Sandals Foundation’s 40for40 initiative that is implementing 40 sustainable development projects that have the power to positively transform communities and change lives.
Additional partners of the YEAC training are the RGPF, St John Ambulance, National Disaster Management Agency, and Grenada Fund for Conservation Inc.