29 Urban Search and Rescue technicians trained in Antigua & Barbuda

Bridgetown, Barbados, 10 September 2013 (CDEMA) - The Urban Search & Rescue Light Level Course (USAR LL) culminated on Saturday, September 7, 2013 at Crabs Camp in Antigua and Barbuda. Twenty- nine (29) Search and Rescue Technicians from Anguilla, Dominica, Montserrat and the Virgin Islands benefitted from the training which began on Monday, September 2, 2013 and concluded on Saturday, September 7, 2013. Participants came from a variety of disciplines including Fire, Police, Military, Forestry and Cadet Corps.

The course format called for both classroom and intense periods of practical exercises which was therefore physically and mentally demanding. The participants were divided into four groups for the training within which they worked for the entire course period. All participants were evaluated on what was learned through nine paper based test combined with practical exercises. Participants who are successful at the examinations are certified at the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) – Americas’ standard.

The training was conducted by six (6) Regional USAR LL instructors who are INSARAG certified (2 from Barbados, 2 from St. Kitts & Nevis, 1 each from Saint Lucia and Trinidad & Tobago). The Chief Instructor, Mr. Abdias Samuel from St. Kitts and Nevis said that he was satisfied with the standards achieved on this basic course and challenged the technicians to continue to develop their skill. He said that he and his team have identified some potential instructors who they are recommending for advance training.

At the closing ceremony and graduation the Chief of Defence Staff, Antigua & Barbuda, Colonel, Sir Trevor Thomas reaffirmed his commitment to support this type of training ventures and will continue to make his facilities available to the National Office of Disaster Services and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency.

BG Earl Arthurs, Emergency Operations Specialist highlighted CDEMA’s vision to have six (6) internationally certified USAR LL technicians in all 18 CDEMA Participating States. He congratulated them for completing the very difficult training and reminded them of their responsibilities to share their knowledge at the national level and to be prepared to serve the Caribbean
The USAR LL Training Programme continues to be a collaborative effort between the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and the United States Aid for International Development/Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA). CDEMA and USAID/OFDA successfully piloted this program in Panama in December 2007 and subsequently conducted training in Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Saint Lucia, and the Bahamas over the last five years. This shows that it has been tested several times in order to validate the whole course and its individual units, as well as to maintain the quality and reliability of the training activity. Over 170 persons from 17 CDEMA Participating States have been trained including 11 certified instructors. There are also another 22 potential instructors who have started the process of certification.

OFDA representative Clive Lorde, Disaster Risk Management Specialist, highlighted the significance of having Regional Instructors who were trained on the initial USAR LL Course in 2007 and were now capable of delivering the training in Antigua and Barbuda. He indicated that USAID/OFDA and CDEMA are currently discussing offering the USAR Medium Level training in the near future.

Director, National Office of Disaster Services, Antigua & Barbuda, Mr. Philmore Mullin in his remarks expressed his satisfaction with the USAR LL training and said that it was significant because eighteen of the USAR LL Technicians were from the Eastern Sub-region for which Antigua and Barbuda is the “Sub-regional Focal Point”.

The training was made possible with support from CDEMA’s Comprehensive Disaster Management Harmonization Implementation Programme (CDM HIP) through the Canadian International Development Agency, United Kingdom AID and Australian AID funding; and the Enhancing Resilience to Reduce Vulnerability in the Caribbean Region (ERC) Project through funding from Italian International Centre on Environmental Monitoring (CIMA).

For more information contact:
BG (R) Earl Arthurs
Emergency Operations Specialist
(246) 425-0386

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