TWO PART BOLIVIAN WATER RESCUE PROJECT RECAP
BACK TO BOLIVIA
GMR CREWS RETURN FOR WATER RESCUE TRAINING
(2 JAN 2015) 2014 ended a busy year for Global Mission Readiness as crews returned to the South American country of Bolivia to teach two courses in water rescue for our brother & sister bomberos. In the works for over a year, this training included an advanced class outside of Santa Cruz involving returning students from our partner agency, the Unidad Urbana de Bomberos y Recate (UUBR) and a basic course in Villa Tunari with our new partner, SAR Bolivia of Cochabamba. The instructors were hosted by the UUBR who also provided translation services in both regions.
The crews arrived first in Villa Tunari for a three day basic water rescue awareness class. This training includes multiple layers of curriculum including class lecture on hydrology and water mechanics as well as an introduction to basic personal protective devices and clothing. The training moves to water to review basic swim practices, patient packaging in water, and trow bag exercises involving live victims.
Time is spent growing acclimated to the water before moving to techniques including shallow water crossing, self-rescue and foot entrapment rescues. The students are all placed in the roles of rescuer and victim to understand how to best effect a rescue while staying calm in a crisis.
A fantastic introduction to water rescue was completed in great water with great people of SAR Bolivia - Our return trip is already in the planning.
Our return to Santa Cruz for the advanced water rescue class began in the classroom for basic review and an introduction to more challenging principles. The goal in the advnced course is to give the students the confidence, education and equipment to actually be pro-active in effecting rescues.
In the pool portion of class, students received a review on swimming techniques and ways of securing a victim in the water and retrieving them to shore. This is done in a controlled environment to build confidence and allow the students to perfect techniques before moving to the river.
At the Rio Pirai, outside of Santa Cruz, students were quickly ushered into contact rescues, approaching and controlling the victims, and safely swimming them to shore.
The students also learned alternative ways of retriving victims including the development of a tension diagonal rope system that uses the water current to "ferry" victims and rescuers across the river. After a night element tested their knowledge of water rescue skills in limited visibilty, the students wrapped up another successful training mission.
GMR would like to thank all who participated in these two projects to bring them to reality: UUBR and Ariany Melgar, SAR Bolivia, students, instructors and our sponsors. We'll see you again in 2015!