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US Embassy trains first responders


US Embassy trains first responders

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FIRST RESPONDERS IN Barbados have concluded a week-long training programme to improve their search-and-rescue capabilities in preparation for the annual Tradewinds exercises being held next month.

The Urban Search and Rescue Light Level (USAR LL) training was conducted by the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA). It was held at the Barbados Defence Force’s Paragon Base from May 8 to13 and also involved participants from the Barbados Fire Service and the Department of Emergency Management.

Twenty-four participants – including staff from visitor attraction Harrison’s Cave – learned about correct procedures for search and rescue of patients found on the surface of collapsed structures; the use of appropriate tools, equipment, and accessories for search and rescue; and methods for patient classification, assessment, care, stabilisation and extraction. 

Since 2007, USAID/OFDA has conducted USAR LL training for all Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) participating states under its Regional Disaster Assistance Programme. To date, 160 people across the region have been trained as technicians and 46 are certified as course instructors. In Barbados, 36 people have been trained as rescue technicians and 12 are now certified as instructors.

Disaster Risk Management Specialist for the USAID/OFDA Office for Latin America and the Caribbean Clive Lorde, said as a result of this recent training Barbados’ technical capacity for search and rescue has been significantly enhanced.

“Also, the cadre of course instructors was strengthened, as potential instructors will be identified and taken through the procedures necessary for them to become certified,” he said.

Tradewinds is a US Southern Command multinational military interaction exercise that promotes regional security cooperation. It will be conducted in three phases: Phase I in Barbados, June 6 to 12; Phase II in Trinidad and Tobago, June 13 to17; and Phase III in Miami, Florida, July 18 to 20. (PR)