Port St. Maarten prepares staff for first medical response


POINT BLANCHE, St. Maarten – Port St. Maarten – Due to the massive growth over the years of Port St. Maarten into a mature cruise facility, the staff at the harbour must also be able to meet certain basic requirements, and investments have been made into first medical response training.

In 2014, for the first time, Port St. Maarten catered to over two million cruise passengers.  With such a feat, come responsibility, and the port board of supervisors along with management saw the need to further enhance first medical response.

The increased response capabilities at Port St. Maarten entails staff being able to administer CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) which is a lifesaving technique useful in many emergencies, including heart attack or near drowning, in which someone’s breathing or heartbeat has stopped.

First Aid is the foundational basics for anybody who deals with large number of customers, and is part of a quicker emergency response and improved patient care and service.

20 employees from various departments at Port St. Maarten along with security officers recently took part in training sessions provided and certified by WIEMS (Windward Islands Emergency Medical Services), on behalf of the American Heart Association, to ensure optimal responses to injured persons at the cruise and cargo facilities in the event of an incident.

Administering first aid or CPR in the first minutes are crucial for the survival of the person until Emergency Medical Services (EMS) arrive on the scene and prepare the patient for transport to St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC).

Automated External Defibrillators (AED) has also been installed throughout the Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise and Cargo Facility.  The AED is a portable device that checks heart rhythm and can send an electric shock to the heart to try to restore normal rhythm and is used to treat sudden cardiac arrest.  Anybody who has training in the use of the AED can access and apply the aforementioned.

Chief Executive Officer Mark Mingo pointed out that after Port St. Maarten recently installed updated AED systems, he decided along with the Human Resources Manager (HRM) to have staffers partake in the trainings to learn the basics of first aid, CPR (for Health Care) for adults/children/infants and AED usage.

Members of the ports Destination Information Center already passed this training last year and will start with an advanced EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) training.

The EMT training will allow staffers to conduct basic, non-invasive interventions to help save lives and reduce harm at an emergency incident.

Mingo added: “With the on-going developments and increased passenger arrivals, it also means that we need more skilled personnel on the ground to be able to assist if needed.

“HR Manager and I have identified various courses for our staff to enhance the total operational level at Port St. Maarten. We are seen as a leader in the industry and therefore have to be proactive as a mature cruise tourism destination in this area as well, which is all part of service.  These aspects will also enhance and maintain our key to success.”

Port St. Maarten also plans to carry out various drills in collaboration with country’s emergency services.

Mingo concluded by congratulating all participants who took part in Port St. Maarten’s first medical response trainings.

PHOTO CUTLINE: Port St. Maarten employees and WIEMS trainers who took part in the first medical response trainings.