SEARCH AND RESCUEWednesday 27th April 2011
An effort is being made to build search and rescue capacities for Antigua and Barbuda and by extension the region. This process aims to enhance the level of professionalism that is internationally accepted.
Representatives from the National Office of Disaster Services (NODS) and key agencies met last week to examine their status in relation to equipment and expertise available.
Discussions also focused on the development of terms of reference for a sub-committee which would be responsible for guiding the operational process and search and rescue requirement.
During the meeting, it was pointed out that the teams were in need of equipment and ongoing training. NODS indicated that this is about to change since it now has a number of level one instructors who will be called upon to lead the charge in the area of training. In addition, several pieces of search and rescue equipment presently on island will be turned over shortly to the Fire Brigade, which is the lead agency.
Among the issues raised were the importance of a common mode of communication, building capacity and a reasonable composition for search and rescue teams from the various agencies and communities.
There are concerns about the need for additional instructors and how trained individuals can be retained, which continues to be a challenge.
Director of the NODS Philmore Mullin is of the opinion that focus needs to be placed on the training and utilization of critical agencies, communities and even school children. This, he says, would require a sustained effort.
It was decided that simulation exercises will continue to be used as a tool to sharpen the skills of individuals. However, additional work would be required at the training station at Crabbes.
Click here for all News and Specials for National Office of Disaster Services