CDEMA rolls out program for better search and rescue – NationNews Barbados –

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Participants in the Search and Rescue Workshop at the Barbados Fire Academy at Arch Hall, St Thomas. (Photo by Reco Moore)

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 search and rescue program ( SAR) more effective in the region.

The announcement was made during the launch of the search and rescue training exercise which was conducted at the Barbados Fire Academy in Arch Hall, St Thomas earlier this week.

CDEMA executive director Elizabeth Riley said the previous program needed revamping because the Caribbean was prone to natural and man-made hazards.

“Although the Search and Rescue program has served the CDEMA region very well over the past 18 years, it was recognized that there was a need for consolidation and improvement in order to create a healthier SAR program in the region.”

She said it would consist of two main areas aimed at improving SAR response.

“The horizontal focus is intended to expand SAR to cover air, land and sea… The vertical focus is intended to advance light level urban search and rescue training to the community level as well as ‘to build mid-level teams,’ Riley said.

For the first phase of the program, emergency personnel from Barbados and Antigua and Barbuda will meet at the Barbados Fire Academy for Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) training until November 11.

They will learn how to extract and provide medical assistance to people stuck in confined spaces due to terrorism, natural disasters and accidents.

Barbados Fire Service Fire Chief and CAFC Chairman Errol Maynard said the training exercise was necessary to have consistent practices across 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 in the Caribbean,” Maynard said. .

He said it would also help responders work better together and improve their service to the public.

“Common training and having standards and training in place for them will build trust between stakeholders and improve the level of service provided. You usually work best with the person you know and know their skills. As a small region made up of small dependent states, we are interdependent. When we hurt everyone, we must therefore have a structured mechanism to help each other. (RT)