The Joint Task Force-Bravo received 30 firefighters from Honduras, Guatemala, Panama, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Nicaragua at Soto Cano Air Base, from August 21 to 25 for the Central America exercise “Sharing Knowledge and Multiple Operational Experiences” (CENTAM).
Central American firefighters had the opportunity to train with their counterparts at 612 Air Squadron, preparing to tackle emergencies under the highest modern standards.
“We prepare them for the future,” said Sgt. Stephen Hansen, 612 fire chief. “They all come from different places but what we all have in common is that we are here to make their communities and their homes safer. ”
During the four days of training, firefighters will familiarize themselves with safety practices, personal protective equipment, structural and live aircraft fires, basic medical training, helicopter patient loading and unloading, operation of Bambi buckets to put out fires and disassembly of vehicles.
“This is a unique experience since not all Central American countries have fire simulators,” said Andrés Guevara, representative of the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction in Guatemala. “The instructors have a lot of experience and this comes to strengthen the Central American region since at any moment we can see ourselves in an emergency at a national level where we can all help each other,” Guevara said.
The purpose of this exercise is precisely to increase mutual assistance, develop camaraderie and strengthen knowledge through the exchange of practices between countries and training under real scenarios.
“The house of fire seemed very challenging – the heat the lack of oxygen – has been a very beautiful experience that managed to unite all the Central American firefighters,” said Brenda Rodriguez, representative of the Meritorious Fire Department of Managua.