Rescue Services Swim Training

Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 9, 2019 (ZIZ News): Officials from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) have teamed up with the crew from the US Navy Ship Comfort to provide rescue swim training to first responder agencies across the Federation on Wednesday.

The training began in the classroom where instructors discussed search and rescue procedures and programs, the crew then headed to Anchorage Beach where they demonstrated and practiced the procedures discussed.

Officer in charge of the helicopter detachment on board the USNS Comfort, Lieutenant Commander John Rashap, explained how the partnership with NEMA was made.

“NEMA actually reached out to us to learn more about our search and rescue program, when we started our initial conversations with them last week we realized that there’s a lot we can do together to learn from each other and it doesn’t just stop with NEMA we’re actually working with eight different national agencies NEMA, the Disaster Management Department plus six other agencies were all partnered together over the course of this week.”

He mentioned that he has about forty persons participating as well as fifteen members of his own team.

“So this primarily rescue swimmers and also some pilots and some medical folks as well for some safety but for the pilots we bring a different perspective of search and rescue but our rescue swimmers are really the meat of the engagement, they can share the procedures with all the personnel from St. Kitts and Nevis and like I said this isn’t just a one way direction, we learn just as much from St. Kitts and Nevis as St. Kitts and Nevis can learn from us.”

Deputy National Disaster Coordinator, Claricia Langley –Stevens explained how NEMA will ensure the continuation of the training program.

“Our partnership exists primarily with US South Com through the British Embassy, NEMA does a lot of work with the embassy in terms of building our capacity, so one of the things that we wanted to do is to have a cadre of rescue swimmers and with that in mind I believe that we are able to sustain our programs even to the recreational swimmers who are showing interest because we can then bring persons in and train them and we can even go to the point of getting train off trainers.”

Lieutenant Commander Rashap said training will continue for the remainder of the week where the participants will go on board the Comfort to learn ship board firefighting drills and review the equipment needed as well as members of the federation’s coast guard will practice diving procedures.

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