VITEMA Enlists Community Emergency Response Team; First St. Croix Training Canceled

The VITEMA headquarters on St. Thomas.
The VITEMA headquarters on St. Thomas.

The Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA) is offering free Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training to the public on all three islands in August, equipping interested community volunteers with the necessary tools to assist governmental response in a time of crisis.

Twenty-one residents successfully completed the Community Emergency Response Team training in the St. Thomas District on Aug. 9-11, and they will serve as Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) members for the territory. Community Emergency Response Teams are nationally recognized as part of the federal module for mitigation and response in the event of a crisis or natural hazard. Its training educates volunteers about disasters that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization and disaster medical operations.

CERT offers a consistent, nationwide approach to volunteer training and organization that professional responders can rely on during disaster situations, which allows them to focus on more complex tasks.

CERT classes include Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) course certificates as well as specific training in hurricane, flood, and tsunami mitigation and response. Establishing territory-wide (CERTs) Community Emergency Response Teams will relieve some of the challenges of first responders and permit for an increase of disaster training support throughout the territory.

St. Croix and St. John will simultaneously host its Community Emergency Response Team training on Aug. 16-18 at the St. Croix Rescue and at the VITEMA Emergency Operations Center, respectively.

The V.I. Territorial Management Authority informs the public that due to the unavailability of an instructor on St. Croix, the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training scheduled for Aug. 16-18 has been canceled. This cancellation only affects St. Croix for the period mentioned. Training scheduled for St. John on Aug. 16-18 and all future trainings territory-wide will be conducted as scheduled.

An additional training session is scheduled on St. Croix and St. Thomas on Aug. 23-25. Government employees are strongly encouraged to register. Residents must be age 18 or older to participate in CERT trainings.

For more information, contact VITEMA Training and Exercise Coordinator Irvin Mason at or by calling 774-2244.