CUSCO, PERU TRAINING CONCLUDES
GMR CREW FROM PORTLAND FIRE & RESCUE
A TWO PART SERIES FOR PERUVIAN FIREFIGHTERS
Project Summary from Team Leader, Chris Barney:
"Team Cusco arrived in country and settled in quickly. We met briefly with the Fire Chief Jose and Firefighters Yvette and Hualy. This first day consisted of bee resting and trying to avoid the 'soroche' - acute mountain sickness - from ascending to 12,000' in 90 minutes.
This evening Mel Watts taught 'reading smoke' to a class of 40 firefighters. Lots of good information was passed along on fire behavior, smoke, and understanding what building on fires look like to arriving firefighters. The students were really interested in then using the ideas of volume, velocity, color, and density while watching videos from YouTube of buildings on fire.
In addition to training, we were able donate some much-needed equipment for the firefighters, relating to the class subjects. This included four airpack harnesses, which increased the number of working SCBA from 6 to 10. Gary Fergus provided instruction on how to use these newer SCBAs with PASS alarms and we concluded with a little race to see who picked things up the fastest!
Rich Tyler along with Mel provided training on the two hi-lift jacks we brought for the fire department. They had seen these on the Internet but never thought they'd be able to use them. We demonstrated on how to lift and pull loads with these jacks.
And last, Rich and I offered some ideas on being prepared to assist a firefighter in trouble in a burning building. The ideas of RIT were well received and they liked the methods of how to move a downed firefighter out of a structure.
After a few days of R&R exploring Machu Picchu, GMR Team Cusco returned with Cusco Fire Station 39 for the first day of trench rescue training. Trench collapses are common in Cusco. The fire department is called to rescue victims from trenches approximately 15x per year. The training we provided involved hands-on shoring techniques, learning to build the shoring systems and how to gain safe access into trenches to remove victims. 35 Cusco firefighters had the opportunity to practice working as a team to assemble timber shoring in a controlled environment. All picked up the concepts well and worked together to operate safely in the scenario. The Cusco State Fire Chief, the City Deputy Chief, and the Cusco Fire Station 39 Chief were all in attendance and were very pleased with the concepts of timber shoring and safety that were taught to their members.
The following day, we moved to a different training site and began working with a live trench. All Cusco firefighters rotated between stations learning the specifics of rescue, logistics, and cut-table operations. Because of how well the basic concepts of trench shoring were learned by all, we added the use of wales (another more advanced shoring technique).
GMR Cusco and Cusco 39 concluded our trip with a final successful day of trench rescue training. With the help of a student, a site was secured and a trench was dug for our purposes. The firefighters of Cusco 39 were very successful in applying the concepts we'd discussed and practiced in a live trench scenario. There were many opportunities for all to learn safe operations, practice leadership, communication, and better understand the realities of working in a real trench.
Our team's time here in Cusco has been beneficial for all. The Cusco bomberos expressed their thanks in discussing topics of reading smoke, preparation for firefighter survival & rescue at fire scenes, and trench rescue. Our team has developed a friendship with the Cusco bomberos and a deeper appreciation for the Peruvian culture & life.
Many thanks to Chief Jose, Asst. Chief Yvette, Captain Hualy, and Orestes for helping to facilitate our visit! Mel, Gary, Rich, and I worked hard to produce trainings on a number of topics for the firefighters of Cusco 39: primarily trench rescue, with additional information on reading smoke, basic RIT operations, and SCBA. Chief Jose Arellano was very pleased and hopes that the relationship with GMR continues."
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September, 2014 - Auto Extrication & Firefighter RIT Training
Tenjo - Cundinamarca, Colombia
November, 2014 - Intermediate Water Rescue Training
Santa Cruz, Bolivia
November, 2014 - Basic Water Rescue Training: SAR Bolivia
March, 2015 - USAR
Other sites in 2015:
St. Vincent & The Grenadines