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Kean Students First in District to Receive Disaster Response Training

This week, the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA) and Virgin Islands Rescue will launch the VI TEEN CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) student-volunteer training program at Ivanna Eudora Kean High School. Kean is the first high school in the St. Thomas-St. John District to receive the TEEN CERT program, which is designed to educate and train student volunteers in emergency management and disaster response.
Thirty Kean High School students signed up to become part of the cadre of schools in the territory with a TEEN CERT program. At 8 a.m. on Tuesday, March 5, the student-volunteers will be introduced during a brief opening ceremony with school Principal Dr. Sharon McCollum, other school administrators, and parents and officials from VITEMA and VI Rescue.
“It’s a tremendous responsibility to be depended on in times when emergencies occur or disaster strikes, and we commend the students for stepping forward and volunteering for this program,” said Elton Lewis, VITEMA director. “I also want to thank Dr. McCollum for allowing us to bring TEEN CERT to Eudora Kean and for working with us to ensure the program could be sponsored without the disrupting the students’ academic schedule.”
TEEN CERT, similar to the adult CERT program, requires that student-volunteers participate in a 20-hour training program to become certified members. The group will spend about five hours a day for four days spread across the month of March, learning skills such fire safety and suppression, light search and rescue, disaster medical operations and team organization. The program will culminate in a disaster exercise designed to test all of the skills learned in classroom and field training. Certified CERT trainers with the VI Rescue are serving as instructors.
“Once trained, the students become a crucial resource in the immediate post-disaster period,” said Gregory Richards, St. Croix rescue chief. “They will be capable of performing many basic, life-saving skills, which is essential in disasters where first responders are not immediately available to assist.”
VI TEEN CERT certification is also available to faith-based communities, youth organizations, and members of clubs and civic organizations.

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This week, the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA) and Virgin Islands Rescue will launch the VI TEEN CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) student-volunteer training program at Ivanna Eudora Kean High School. Kean is the first high school in the St. Thomas-St. John District to receive the TEEN CERT program, which is designed to educate and train student volunteers in emergency management and disaster response.
Thirty Kean High School students signed up to become part of the cadre of schools in the territory with a TEEN CERT program. At 8 a.m. on Tuesday, March 5, the student-volunteers will be introduced during a brief opening ceremony with school Principal Dr. Sharon McCollum, other school administrators, and parents and officials from VITEMA and VI Rescue.
“It’s a tremendous responsibility to be depended on in times when emergencies occur or disaster strikes, and we commend the students for stepping forward and volunteering for this program,” said Elton Lewis, VITEMA director. “I also want to thank Dr. McCollum for allowing us to bring TEEN CERT to Eudora Kean and for working with us to ensure the program could be sponsored without the disrupting the students’ academic schedule.”
TEEN CERT, similar to the adult CERT program, requires that student-volunteers participate in a 20-hour training program to become certified members. The group will spend about five hours a day for four days spread across the month of March, learning skills such fire safety and suppression, light search and rescue, disaster medical operations and team organization. The program will culminate in a disaster exercise designed to test all of the skills learned in classroom and field training. Certified CERT trainers with the VI Rescue are serving as instructors.
“Once trained, the students become a crucial resource in the immediate post-disaster period,” said Gregory Richards, St. Croix rescue chief. “They will be capable of performing many basic, life-saving skills, which is essential in disasters where first responders are not immediately available to assist.”
VI TEEN CERT certification is also available to faith-based communities, youth organizations, and members of clubs and civic organizations.