Bridgetown, Barbados November 8th, 2022 – The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency is hosting its first in-person regional training session since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the Regional Search and Rescue Programme, Disciplined forces from Barbados and Antigua assembled at Arch Hall Fire Academy in Barbados for a week of comprehensive training, as the agency embarks on expansion of the programme to better serve its 19 Participating States.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the programme, Executive Director of CDEMA Elizabeth Riley shared the evolution of the SAR programme, noting that there is now a need for a stronger mechanism. “While the Search and Rescue programme has served the CDEMA region very well over the last eighteen years, it was recognised that there was a need for a consolidation and enhancement in order to create a more wholesome SAR programme in the region, particularly noting that the Caribbean region is prone to a number of both natural and anthropogenic hazards with the potential to create situations where persons can be at risk, potentially increasing the need for SAR interventions,” Riley said.
In 2016, a concept paper was presented to the CDEMA Technical Advisory Committee and the interventions proposed will be used to take the programme forward. The training session will focus on one specific area of focus; building teams within two Sub Regions of the Regional Response Mechanism through Urban SAR Light Level training at the community level.
She added, “Under the Targeted Support to CDEMA Project being implemented by the CDEMA CU with financial support of Global Affairs Canada, the CDEMA System has undertaken this work towards the development of a more comprehensive Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) programme in collaboration with Partners and Participating States.”
The SAR Training will be executed alongside the Caribbean Association of Fire Chiefs (CAFC) with the support of World Hope International. Chief Fire Officer of Barbados and President of the CAFC, Errol Maynard shared the importance of such training saying, “Our obligation is not only to build capacity but to establish common standards within the fire and rescue service…within the Caribbean. Training together…and training to the standards will result in trust among you, the responders, and improve the level of service provided.”
The training which takes place from November 7-11 will see participants trained on methods within the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group, to build their capacity as a standing Regional Search and Rescue Team to be mobilized within the RRM.