U.S. Embassy Trains First Responders in Urban Search and Rescue (USAR)

soldiers training in field

First responders on Barbados have concluded a week-long training to improve their search-and-rescue capabilities in preparation for the annual Tradewinds exercises being held in the country 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 U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA). It was held at the Barbados Defense Force’s Paragon Base from May 8–13 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 topics such as 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, stabilization 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 Program. 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.”

Tradewinds is a U.S. Southern Command multinational military interaction exercise that promotes regional security cooperation. Tradewinds 2017 will be conducted in three phases: Phase I in Barbados, June 6-12; Phase II in Trinidad and Tobago, June 13-17; and Phase III in Miami, Florida, July 18-20.