Suriname prepares to establish a new Land Search and Rescue Program

A nine (9) day search and rescue training just concluded at the Sgt. 1 Martowidjojo Kazerne (‘Concordia‘) Training Base of the National Army, Suriname. This venture is a collaboration between the Nationaal Co√∂rdinatie Centrum voor Rampenbeheersing (NCCR) and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) with financial support from international partners (United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) and Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). This is the first in a number of training activities that are designed to establish a cadre of Land Search and Rescue instructors in Suriname who will form the core of instructors for a national Land Search and Rescue Program.

Speaking on the new initiative, Coordinator of NCCR, Col. Jerry Slijngard, remarked that, “this training marks a major step towards establishment of a Land Search and Rescue Training Centre and Program in Suriname. It will be a central agency where SAR teams from all of the relevant agencies can receive standardized training to an international level.”

Twelve participants from five national agencies began the training on Sunday, January 26, 2014.  Participants come with various search and rescue skills and knowledge including, medical, land navigation and rappelling. This is a physically demanding training which focuses on collapse structures rescue, land search and rescue, high angle rescue and water rescue among others.

Twelve participants from five national agencies began the training on Sunday, January 26, 2014. Participants come with various search and rescue skills and knowledge including, medical, land navigation and rappelling. This is a physically demanding training which focuses on collapse structures rescue, land search and rescue, high angle rescue and water rescue among others.

Two CDEMA officers and three instructors from the (Caribbean) Regional Search and Rescue team are currently in Suriname to deliver the program. Course Coordinator, Brigadier General (Retired) Earl Arthurs of the CDEMA Coordinating Unit said, “it is a critical component in enhancing Suriname’s capacity, and eventually the wider Caribbean’s capacity, for responding for disasters and emergencies.”

The Concordia Training Base is also being set to become a centre of excellence for the Caribbean region. This week saw the start of construction of a training simulator which will be used for collapsed structure rescue training, and the erection of a 10 meter rappelling tower to be used for high angle rescue training. Improvements at Concordia also included the refurbishment of accommodation, classrooms and training areas.

The training will culminate with a final exercise which will test the skills the participants acquired over the period of training. Minister of Defense, Mr. Lamure Latour, and the Executive Director of CDEMA, Mr. Ronald Jackson, gave remarks at the closing ceremony and Coordinator of NCCR, Col. Jerry Slijngard also addressed the ceremony.

Upcoming training is expected to result in at least twenty-four (24) SAR technicians by the end of February 2014.

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