The Fire Departments of St. Eustatius and Saba have joined forces this week and the next to carry out mountain-rescue training on the “Historical Gem.”
Two fire fighters from each Department are being instructed by Ron Mobly and Dwayne Strawn of Caribbean Emergency Responders ‘training Academy in Tortola, British Virgin Islands.
“Both Saba and Statia have mountainous terrains,” Mobly explains. “Steep cliffs, erosion and human error can produce dangerous if not fatal conditions for hillside walkers. Rescue teams need to have safe climbing skills and equipment in place to ensure that accidents can be dealt with efficiently.”
This week, the Academy is focusing on training its local recruits to rescue an injured individual in the shape of a mannequin by scaling up and down the high walls around Claes Gut.
Each training period takes about 90 minutes to complete, but in a real situation such a rescue task is often shorter. Nevertheless, Mobly points out that time and safety are of the essence.
“There is no standard length of time that a mountain-rescue operation can take. It all depends on the circumstances of the terrain and the situation of the individual. What is standard is the use of ropes, knots, pulleys, commands, procedures, and even postures used by the rescuers.”
Dyens Saladin has worked at the Statia Fire Department for the last nine years. He was one of the trainees selected to scale down the 50-foot drop into the Gut and recover the mannequin. “It was a tremendously exciting experience,” he says. “We have learned so much from the techniques, advice and countless tips to make sure that the rescued and the rescuer have a safe result.”
Next week’s training could prove even more exciting. “We are going to demonstrate the safe science of trans-sealing from one cliff to another,” Strawn announces. “It might sound dangerous, but if handled with all the precautions in place it could be a life saver.”
The Daily Herald.