The Caribbean Association of Fire Chiefs (CAFC) has partnered with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and World Hope International (WHI) to create a more effective Search and Rescue (SAR) programme in the region.
The announcement was made at the launch of the Search and Rescue training exercise that was conducted at the Barbados Fire Academy in Arch Hall, St Thomas earlier this week.
Executive Director at CDEMA, Elizabeth Riley said the previous programme needed to be revamped since the Caribbean was prone to both natural and man-made hazards.
“While the Search and Rescue programme has served the CDEMA region very well over the last 18 years, it was recognised that there was a need for a consolidation and enhancement in order to create a more wholesome SAR programme in the region.”
She said it would consist of two main focuses that aimed at improving SAR interventions.
“The horizontal focus seeks to expand SAR to cover air, land and sea….The vertical focus seeks to advance the Urban Search and Rescue Light Level training at the community level as well as to build Medium Level teams,” Riley said.
For phase one of the programme, emergency personnel from Barbados and Antigua and Barbuda will gather at the Barbados Fire Academy for training in Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) until November 11.
They will be taught how to extricate and provide medical assistance to people trapped in confined spaces due to terrorism, natural disasters, and accidents.
Chief Fire Officer of the Barbados Fire Service and President of CAFC, Errol Maynard, said the training exercise was necessary to have consistent practices in the Caribbean.
“Our obligation is not only to build capacity but also to establish common standards within the Fire and Rescue Service and the emergency medical services industry within the Caribbean,” Maynard said.
He said it would also help responders work better together and improve their service to the public.
“The training together, and the establishment of standard and training to them, will result in trust among the responders and improve the level of service provided. You generally work better with the person that you know and are familiar with their competencies. As a small region made up of small dependent states, we are interdependent. When one hurts all hurt, therefore we must have a structured mechanism to help each other.” (RT)