El Rosal, Colombia: Firefighter Skills

GMR56 Class line up for role call and opening ceremony in October 2018.

Opening Ceremony of GMR56 kicks off in El Rosal, Colombia.

12 October 2018

In the Western Savanna Province, part of the department of Cundinamarca, 12 miles (20 Km) outside of Bogota, sits El Rosal. Approximately 8,800 ft (2,685M) above sea level and a population of nearly 20,000 people, the Bombers El Rosal prepare to protect the city for emergencies. Global Mission Readiness has traveled to El Rosal in 2017 and this year in 2018. GMR is not only training the local, El Rosal firefighters, but also training the region. Firefighters and first responders come from all over the area to take part in training. This mission, 30 firefighters from 5 different agencies, some from up to 8 hours away, have come to learn fire control, advancing hose-lines, ground ladders, search and rescue, and firefighter safety and survival.

These firefighters have a passion to help their community, their country and each other. This is proven during the opening ceremony where all 30 are lined up, at attention, singing their national anthem, ready to take on the week. Their passion to want to learn and help their community cannot be taught by GMR. GMR has the ability to get some of the greatest trainers and provide equipment, but cannot teach passion.

GMR56 Class line up for role call and opening ceremony in October 2018.
GMR56 Class line up for role call and opening ceremony in October 2018.

The GMR teams that go to areas like El Rosal, are purely voluntary. The members take time off of work, from their families, and their lives, to selflessly provide skills and knowledge to develop these areas. At a cost to them as well. GMR assists by fundraising for transportation costs, but ultimately it is the team’s responsibility to fund their trip. GMR has no paid personnel. All the members that help GMR do it to make the world a better place, to selflessly give knowing that the seeds that are sewn will outlive all of us. GMR could not accomplish this without them.

Agencies like El Rosal, have taken it upon themselves to seek assistance in preparedness, basic training, and equipment acquisition to help their community for everyday emergencies as well as large-scale disasters. GMR is proud to help El Rosal and all of the agencies worldwide. Click the link to watch a short opening ceremony video of GMR56. The firefighters of Colombia singing their national anthem. El Rosal Opening Video

Santa Cruz, Bolivia, GMR55

Cochabamba, Bolivia, 2015. Water and Canal Rescue. GMR volunteers pictured in blue shirts- Left: Sean Carris, Middle: Ariany Melgar, Right: Scott Walker.

Global Mission Readiness keeps moving forward in the worldwide safety and training arena. GMR is happy to announce to continue training in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, South America for GMR’s 55th mission.

Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, South America; “The Center of South America.”

On September 19th, 2018, firefighters from Clackamas Fire and Forest Grove Fire and Rescue, specially trained in Rope Rescue will be heading to Santa Cruz to train with firefighters in Basic Rope Rescue. GMR has been in this region to teach EMS, Vehicle Extrication, Water Rescue, and Firefighter Safety and Survival. We are excited to go back to this area as the need is high and much appreciated. The area is home to over 2 million people, including areas of industry, recreation, residential, and farming on the outskirts. With the main system of water removal being canals, first responders from the area struggle to safely remove trapped victims and animals from the canals before flash flooding occurs. The skills, knowledge, and equipment that GMR will bring, increase safety, efficiency, and truly saves lives.

The team is made of up volunteer Ryan Patrick (CFD), Shawn Mullen (CFD), Rick Ilg (FGFR), and team leader Patrick DeLair (CFD). GMR is also excited to have photographer Juliana Patrick accompany the team and document the trip. Juli is a well-respected photographer and videographer in Portland, OR, USA.

Cochabamba, Bolivia, 2015. Water and Canal Rescue. GMR volunteers pictured in blue shirts- Left: Sean Carris, Middle: Ariany Melgar, Right: Scott Walker.
Cochabamba, Bolivia, 2015. Water and Canal Rescue. GMR volunteers pictured in blue shirts- Left: Sean Carris, Middle: Ariany Melgar, Right: Scott Walker.

Return trips to areas like Santa Cruz are exciting for GMR because we build on previous trips, test the skills and abilities from previous training missions, and build lifelong friendships around the world. Our collaboration breaks down cultural barriers, provide the education and resources to help save lives by teaching first responders how to help themselves, help their communities, and their countries. To learn more or to get involved, follow along on Facebook and Instagram and our website at Global Mission Readiness. You can learn more about Juliana Patrick by visiting www.julianapatrick.com

GMR 54 is off to Lima, Peru

GMR at the Airport

Global Mission Readiness is off on its 54th trip. 

Image: Alberto Caceres

Volunteers for Global Mission Readiness (GMR) are headed to Lima, Peru to teach a basic rope rescue course. While this is not GMR’s first time to Lima, Peru, it is the first time training with the host agency, Proteccion Civil Internacional (PCI). PCI is volunteer responders from around the region that assist Peruvian National Police and Peruvian National Fire Brigade with technical rescues such as rope rescue.

The need is constant in this area of Peru. With many opportunities for tourist in the region, buses are one of the main modes of transportation. The roads of Peru are windy and as you can imagine very scenic due to the Andes Mountains. There comes a danger with windy, mountain roads though. Bus crashes happen all too often down steep embankments. Having well-trained responders to quickly and safely, respond and provide aid will save more lives. Like most remote and rural communities, having good first responder aid that can affect rescue and provide treatment until definitive care is necessary for any region. This class focuses on basic rope rescue including safe anchor points, basic knots, lowering and repelling systems, and raising systems. Every GMR class has portions on basic first aid and rendering medical aid, this one is no different.

Agencies from all over the area will be in attendance. Some of them are new to rope rescue and some of them have skills that will be able to augment the instructor’s information. The instructors are all career firefighters that work on technical rescue teams for Albany Fire Department. Albany, Oregon is located approximately 80 miles (128km) from Portland, OR, USA where GMR is located.

GMR at the Airport
Pictured: (left to right) Shannon Baker, Tim Verdun, Mike Hurley, Tom Henke (Photo Credit: Carly Shears)

Led by team leader Carly Shears, who could not accompany the team on the trip. Tom Henke and Shannon Baker have participated in GMR missions before. Mike Hurley and Tim Verdun round out the team. Tom and Shannon have participated in missions to Africa. This is Tim and Mike’s first time as volunteers with GMR. GMR is looking forward to continuing relationships in Lima as well as building a new one with PCI. 

GMR Sets Off For its 54th Mission

GMR sends 5 volunteers to Lima, Peru

Volunteers Carly Shears and Tom Henke preparing to teach Rope Rescue in Lima, Peru. Photo Credit: Carly Shears via Instagram.

In May of 2018, volunteers with be headed to Lima, Peru, South America to teach Basic Rope Rescue Techniques. Let by Global Mission Readiness and Albany Fire Department Firefighter Carly Shears, this will be GMR’s 7th time to Lima. However, this will be the first time training with Proteccion Civil Internacional (PCI).  Shears will be joined by fellow Albany Fire members Shannon Baker, Tom Henke, Tim Verdun, and Michael Hurley. Baker and Henke have traveled to Africa with GMR in the past. This is Verdun and Hurley’s first time traveling with GMR.

Like with most GMR missions, Train-the-Trainer format will be used. The team has asked to gather responders from different agencies all over the region to train with. While differing skill levels are always present, basic information is presented then built upon. Getting agencies together from around the region also builds stronger relational bonds while working together to increase public safety. Ultimately, the goal is to save more lives and equip more responders.

PCI training with GMR in April of 2012 in USAR. Photo Credit: Alberto Ceceras via Facebook.

To learn more about this trip and follow along, Follow GMR on Facebook and Instagram where trip updates will be posted. You can also donate to this trip by going to the DONATE tab and selecting PERU.

GMR 53 Heads to Ghana, Africa

5 volunteers to teach EMS in Kumasi, Ghana, Africa

Volunteers from Clackamas Fire District 1, Jared Wick, Tyler Dickerson, Graham Heard, veteran volunteer Kyle Myers and Patrick DeLair head to Kumasi, Ghana, Africa to teach the national first responders Emergency Medical Services. This is GMR’s third teaching trip to Ghana. The class will be about building skills from previous missions, teaching new techniques as well as donating equipment. Some of the equipment that will be donated are trauma supplies, airway adjuncts, CPR training aids, to name a few.

The class will focus on local emergencies. While natural disasters do not happen that often, it is not unheard of. The team will cover triaging multiple patients as well as best methods of transporting multiple people to definitive care.

Hospitals and clinics are spread out in this region. Sometimes taking 4-5 hours to get to the next big city that has care. First Responders will learn techniques to take care of patients for longer than the 10-20 miniutes that first responders in the states care for patients.

To learn more about this trip and to follow along, follow GMR on Facebook and Instagram. You can donate to this trip by going to the donate tab and selecting Africa.

Columbia Prepares For Hazmat Training

El Rosal Fire Department Plays Host For Regional Training

A first for Global Mission Readiness, Hazardous Materials training will begin in El Rosal, Cundinamarca, Columbia on 26-28 October, 2017. “Volunteers teaching Volunteers” is the theme of this and the majority of our projects as GMR Volunteers from Portland Fire, Gresham Fire and Clackamas Fire will be teaching the basics of hazardous materials response during emergencies. GMR has had multiple training projects in Colombia before and look forward to continuing the relationships that have been established as well as expand the curriculum into HazMat.

The three day course will focus on defining hazardous materials, identification, awareness, and decontamination for firefighters. Our curriculum starts out with the basics and expands to more advanced concepts over time. This class reinforces GMR’s mission of self-reliance. Teaching the firefighters of El Rosal, Cundinamarca how to handle these types of emergencies and keeping each other safe, as well as their community, is exactly what GMR is about. A special thank you to the volunteers from GMR traveling for bringing this specialized training into an area of need.

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