Improving auto extrication through multi-nation challenge
More than 1.2 million people die each year on the world’s roads, making road traffic injuries a leading cause of death globally. Most of these deaths are in low- and middle-income countries where rapid economic growth has been accompanied by more roads and more vehicles using those roads. As well as being heartbreaking for the friends and family of those involved, road traffic injuries are also a development issue with low- and middle- income countries losing approximately 3% of GDP as a result of these crashes.
In order to help address this tragedy in Central America, Firefighters Without Borders is partnering with the Honduran National Fire Service to present the Central American Vehicle Extrication Challenge. This five day event will take place at the National Fire Training School in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, date to be confirmed. Trainers from Nicaragua, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama will take part. All attendees will be provided with learning and support materials so the training can be replicated in their home countries at the conclusion of the event. The teams will learn valuable extrication fundamentals and patient care techniques. During the final two days of the event, the attendees will have a chance to apply their new skills in a friendly competition of two, timed scenarios. This promises to be a tremendous learning experience and one we hope will help address the ongoing impact of traffic injuries and needless loss of life on Central America’s roadways.
Improving emergency response
Firefighters Without Borders is pleased to partner with Emergency Solutions International of St. John, New Brunswick and the St. Lucia Red Cross to bring much needed training and equipment to the Caribbean nation of St. Lucia. Like other nations in the region, the emergency responders in St. Lucia require modernized equipment and training to meet the challenges they face daily. They urgently require the ability to face natural disasters such as hurricanes brought about by global climate change.
As with all other Firefighters Without Borders programs, sustainability is a cornerstone of this program. This long term project will begin with an in country, in depth, all-hazards risk assessment followed by the development of a strategic plan that meets the specific emergency response needs of this island nation. Our initial focus will be introducing and training on the use of an Incident Command System, a standardized approach to the command, control, and coordination of emergency response providing a common hierarchy within which responders from multiple agencies can be effective.
Additional training and equipment will include hazardous materials response, a respiratory protection program, vehicle extrication as well as first aid and CPR. Our plan is for the training model developed in this project to form a blueprint for similar programs for other Caribbean nations.
Improving fire service fundamentals
Firefighters Without Borders is working closely with several First Nation Communities to address the dire needs that continue to exist relating to fire safety. We are pleased to have engaged several key stakeholders, including several First Nations Fire Chiefs and provincial government agencies. We are also pleased to have the continuing support of the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs. A pilot project will be introduced in 2016 in partnership with the First Nation community of Moose Deer Point, located near Parry Sound, Ontario. Our focus is to improve the skills of their volunteer firefighters in such areas as basic fire suppression and vehicle pumping practices. As part of our sustainability approach, our team will be putting together community fire safety and public education to extend the ability to keep the community safe from fire as much as possible. The Firefighters Without Borders team is especially excited to be having an impact right in our own backyard, where an internal federal government report examining insurance coverage for First Nations found almost half across Canada had “little to no fire protection.” The 2011 report determined that First Nations residents were 10 times more likely to die in a house fire than someone living off the reserve.*