SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - K1 Britannia Foundation recently formed and launched a Disaster Relief and Crisis Team called K1 DIRECT. Since its launch, 20 vetted volunteer members including K1 staff have been undergoing a series of trainings to properly equip themselves with the tools and expertise necessary to tackle a disaster locally or in the region. K1 DIRECT was a result of K1’s experience with disaster relief post-Irma, and the identification of needs within the first 72 hours’ post-disaster. K1 Britannia is working with St. Maarten Government Emergency Support Function 7 (ESF7) to identify three main areas in which K1 DIRECT will be committed to playing a long-term role in St. Maarten.
Ensuring that all core members of K1 DIRECT are CPR/AED/First Aid certified is a necessary component of the holistic training due to basic preparations needed to assist in shelter management, first response, and rapid assessments to care institutions on the island.Twenty members and K1 Staff recently completed the American Heart Association’s Heartsaver First Aid CPR AED certified course given locally by the Windward Islands Emergency Medical Services (WIEMS) and are certified for the next 2 years.
The trainings were done in sets of two full day trainings over the course of 4 months. The first day covered CPR/AED where the trainees learned how to performCPR carrying out chest compressions and rescue breaths, which differs for both infants, children and adults. They also learned how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED), which is used to help those experiencing sudden cardiac arrest.
The second day of the training covered first aid which included first aid basics for medical emergencies that are life threatening such as choking in adults and children, heart attack, stroke and seizures. Injury emergencies were covered extensively such as how to apply direct pressure to a wound, controlling bleeding, bandaging a cut and using a tourniquet, a device for stopping the flow of blood through a vein or artery and splinting of broken bones. Lastly, trainees were also trained in environmental emergencies such as treating bites and stings.
K1 DIRECT member Zuleima Violenus – Salmon, highlighted the importance of the training saying “I now feel more confident that I would be able to follow the important steps of assessing a situation keeping myself safe and then helping someone else in many cases.”"We are very proud that our volunteers have completed the basic training in the medical field successfully and enthusiastically. Our goal is that each one of our core members completes basic training in fields relevant to disaster relief work, the first of which was medical." Said K1 Program Manager, Iris Hakkens.