Government of St. Maarten Launches Program to Train Students in Emergency Preparedness and Response Skills

Press Release | Government of Sint Maarten | August 2, 2019

The Government of Sint Maarten is pleased to announce the launch of the Youth Emergency Hero (YEH) program that teaches school students how to prepare themselves, their households and their communities for emergencies and stay safe during disasters. The curriculum is provided by University instructors at the Caribbean Center for Disaster Medicine at the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine on St. Maarten.

Youth Emergency Hero program lessons utilize age-appropriate materials and activities and instructors engage students by speaking about the impact of local disasters that affect their communities, such as what to do when there is no electricity, how to find your family and friends if separated, what do you put in an emergency grab-and-go bag.

Using a "Learn, Practice and Share" framework along with interactive activities, the YEH program is able to instill important life-saving skills in a fun and memorable way for students. "The kids really love it!" says Dr. Gavin Macgregor-Skinner, Youth Emergency Hero instructor. "Their eyes light up when they learn how to plan a family meeting to develop an emergency family communication plan and a family emergency kit for their home. Afterwards, we hear so many stories of how they as Hero's have shared information and skills they have learned with their family and friends so everyone in the household knows what to do.

YEH Program trainers"In addition to teaching young people how to prepare for disasters like home fires and hurricanes, the YEH program also teaches coping skills that will help students stay calm during and after a disaster. Whether it be questions about fires, floods, thunderstorms or hurricanes, the Youth Emergency Hero program helps youth gain confidence in their abilities to be prepared for emergencies and use their knowledge to act as advocates for emergency preparedness in their homes and communities.

After a lesson, it is not uncommon for instructors to hear from teachers and parents that participants went home excited and talked with their family about what they learned. Youth have the ability to retain information and their interest in sharing those life-saving skills with family and friends plays a large role in a spreading the information to others. The Youth Emergency Hero program seeks to build resiliency among young people and encourages them to share their new skills with family members.

Prime Minister Leona- Romeo Marlin would like to thank all the trainers, volunteers and students who are involved in this positive initiative and encourages everyone to keep up the great work.