Emergency Volunteer Services (EVS) held a certification ceremony on Sunday 18 August to confirm the placement of new Emergency First Aid Responders (EFAR) committed to serving the community.Deon Terry, a paramedic at Metro Emergency Medical Services’ ambulance department and head instructor, launched the EFAR programme in Ocean View in 2014 to teach the community basic first aid and disaster relief skills. The course is held over one to two days. The ceremony, held at the Dutch Reform church hall in Ocean View, saw 69 people from Ocean View, Masiphumelele and Red Hill certified as EFAR facilitators.Davin Chown, an EVS facilitator since 2010, explains the role these new members will play in the community.“We are ordinary citizens on the ground. We’re usually the first ones there because we tend to be the closest person to the scene equipped to do something at the time. “We have the knowledge and the skills to hold down the fort until emergency response arrives,” he says. Terry adds: “We train people in low-resource areas to have immediate emergency responders available in case of a disaster.”Almost 300 residents attended the ceremony in acknowledgement of the volunteers’ achievements and to watch them display their new skills.“We had demonstrations and a few simulations. The idea was also to network. To get people to become first responders. “We targeted community leaders because those are the people we need to get the message out, and so far it’s been amazing. I’ve already received notice of 20 people who would like to become responders.”Chown adds that the 69 new facilitators can confidently secure crime or emergency scenarios until the arrival of emergency service professionals. “They are now equipped and have the confidence to do something. They’re not helpless victims of the community anymore.”Residents from the far South Peninsula, Vrygrond and Mitchell’s Plain can join EFAR to empower themselves. Terry says the youngest member of the team is a 14-year-old girl, an encouragement to all members of under-resourced areas to become more knowledgeable in dealing with emergencies. V For more information or to become a volunteer, follow @EVSCape on Facebook.