Over 60 individuals are the latest to form part of the national search and rescue team that will also be expected to offer assistance on a regional level.
The participants of a recent one-week training course sponsored by the government and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) were drawn from the fire and police departments and the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force. They were taken through such topics as safety considerations, building damage assessment, search strategies, pre-hospital care, rescue techniques, and tools, equipment and accessories.
The over 60 participants were presented with their certificates on Wednesday during a ceremony at Camp Blizzard. Number 162 Constable Jenisen Richards was named the most outstanding student. Constable Richards was grateful to all the facilitators which included mostly local instructors and says she and the other participants garnered a wealth of knowledge.
Chief Instructor Inspector Reynold Williams from the Fire Department thanked all the facilitators for helping to raise the level of search and rescue in Antigua and Barbuda.
Director of the National Office of Disaster Services (NODS) Philmore Mullin says the need to place greater emphasis on search and rescue came to light during recent earthquakes throughout the region. Mullin says Antigua and Barbuda will look at training and maintaining a minimum of 180 persons. He further challenged the fire department, as the lead agency on search and rescue, and the other agencies that make up the composition of the national team to take their roles seriously and maintain a high standard. Mullin also thanked the CDEMA CU for its support in providing two regional instructors to oversee the process.
Also in attendance were Chief of Defence Staff Sir Colonel Trevor Thomas and other defence force personnel, Superintendent Elvis Weaver from the Fire Department and Deputy Commissioner Ivor David from the Police Department.