VOLUNTEERS IN THE FIELD
GMR ENDS 2015 WITH THREE SOUTH AMERICAN PROJECTS
Colombia, Peru and Bolivia Round Out Our Year
2015 is coming to a close, and with it, so are three of our training projects in South America. November and December were extremely busy months for us, building on the foundation of training laid during previous visits. Including these, GMR provided six training courses in as many countries in 2015, contributing thousands of dollars in donated and purchased fire, EMS and rescue equipment to emergency response agencies in need.
In November, GMR instructors representing Portland Fire & Rescue out of Oregon traveled to Envigado, Colombia to teach auto extrication to multiple agencies surrounding Medellin. Some of these agencies lack the training to perform one of their most vital roles in Colombia: responding to traffic accidents. The three day course focused on new hybrid vehicles (that are becoming increasingly popular in Colombia), patient care, vehicle stabilization, forcible entry using cutting and prying techniques, and extrication. This training was a huge success, bringing agencies together and providing different techniques they can utilize and pass on after our departure.
Following the course, all training materials, tools and equipment were donated to the agencies attending the training to place in service within their current organizations.
Simultaneously during this Colombian auto extrication training, a separate group of Portland Firefighters representing GMR traveled to the picturesque Ancash Valley of Peru for Strutural Collapse and Urban Search & Rescue Training with the BEAR Rescue Team of Caraz. Our fifth trip to the region focused on tools to assist the emergency responders to better handle earthquakes within their region. The course focused on search patterns, breaching walls and moving large objects to access victims.
December, our volunteers traveled to Santa Cruz, Bolivia for a week of training with Urban Unit of Bomberos and Rescate (UUBR) and firefighters from surrounding areas from as far away as Chile. Our instructors provided a three day course for 32 students in Firefighter Safety & Survival including fire behavior training, self-rescue, advancing hoselines within a structure, hose evolutions, carries and drags, search patterns, breaching walls and RIT. The course was developed and implemented with the sole purpose of making our comrades safer.
With 2015 at a close, I would like to thank our instructors, all of whom are unpaid volunteers, our donors, friends, families and most of all firefighters and rescue personnel around the world who keep training and honing their skills to be better at their profession. The majority of these people are volunteers. They are doing this not for money or fame or glory, but for the purpose of making their communities safer. We hope we made you a little more 'mission ready for disaster. On behalf of Global Mission Readiness, I wish you and your families a happy holiday! See you in 2016!!!
UPCOMING PROJECTS, 2016:
Cotui, Dominican Republic
St. Vincent & the Grenadines