San Gil, Mar 14 – Last Training Day

15 March, 2016 at 7:25 pm

img_2241Today was our last day of training in San Gil. It went quickly and smoothly, and we ended early so we could go through the graduation ceremony.
The ceremony itself went well, all our trainees received three certificates for their efforts, as well as a gift. We presented the Commandant with the turnout gear we brought from Canada. There were many words of thanks, both in english and in spanish, and then a big group picture outside in front of the fire trucks.

One of the local fire departments who attended our training, the San Hose department, graciously invited us to their town for dinner. It was amazing. We ate like kings and enjoyed their hospitality until they were called away to a forest fire.
While they went off to work we were treated to a tour of the local sugar cane farm, where we saw how sugar cane is processed.

Once back it town we found out it was the birthday of one of our San Gil bomberos, so off we went to celebrate at the local dance club. Always something going on, always fun.

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San Gil, Mar 13, Second Training Day

14 March, 2016 at 6:30 am

IMG_6450 Day two of training found us running a much smoother operation. All the groups of students were rotated to a new team of instructors for another intense day of learning.

One team had the opportunity to work on vehicle fire/auto ex scenarios, including driving the firetruck onto the scene, setting up lane plus one blocking, scene safety, and showing water! Many of these bomberos had never showed water before, and there were broad grins all around.
This was also the first time many had ever worn turnout gear, and the students were thrilled!
While the students had the highest respect for their instructors, they couldn’t help teasing their fearless gringo teacher about the hard earned coconut he managed to acquire the night before.

The second group learn everything we could teach them about ropes and knots. There were a 20160313_101439number of nurses in the group who knew nothing about the topic and were happy to learn. They were also happy with all the handouts we were able to provide….and one nurse in particular was thrilled at the inadvertent proposal from our instructor, who was only attempting to apologize for hitting her with the rope.

The third group had a chance to learn all about search and rescue. They had a great time, especially with the lifts and drags portion. Once we got them into turnout gear they were so excited we couldn’t get them to remove it. It was more than 35deg C and we had to beg them to take the gear off until they were ready to run through the scenario.

With the second day of training over, we went off on our next evening adventure.IMG_6445

San Gil, Mar 12, Evening wind down

13 March, 2016 at 8:35 pm

img_2162After finishing our first day of training, we went out and about for a debrief and de-stress.
Our first stop was the local watering hole. Intending to have a quiet wind down and a swim, we instead found ourselves in the middle of a lively fiesta, complete with a really fantastic live band. We took it all in stride and joined in the celebration.
From there we went to town square for supper, provided by one of the local street vendors. Shawn picked up a hacky sack for some entertainment, but we had to go, as we were late for our next event – a fashion show.
There was a bit of confusion once we arrived at the resort that was hosting the fashion show, and we ended up lost in their pool area. Seeing as we all had our swim gear on already, we hit the pool.
We eventually did find our way to the fashion show, which ended up being the last event of the evening.
From there it was back to the fire hall for some much needed sleep.img_2167

San Gil, Mar 12

13 March, 2016 at 11:01 am

So we just completed our first day of training in San Gil. We have three teams of approximately 11 people, some who10303440_10153981258317604_5393256177111082503_n have had no firefighting experience at all.

Over the next three days we will be giving these bomberos instruction on auto extrication, ropes and knots, and search and rescue.

Given the limited resources available here we have been challenged to adapt what we know to fit the environment around us.

There has been some confusion, some laughs, a lot of questions, and a lot of non-verbal visual explanations/demonstrations.

Handouts are good. Pictures are good to. 12832505_10153981258832604_1911435093996689783_n

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San Gil, Mar 11, Evening

13 March, 2016 at 10:52 am

Finally our whole team is here. And to celebrate, our guide Juan took us for a night on the town.1937045_1697082657237666_3088821934242477055_n We got to see some amazing things, and met some great people. Cerro De La Cruz, a huge cross on top of a hill over looking the town, was beautiful.
We meet some of the locals, including some bomberos from town, and were immediately treated like royalty. We went swimming in the same natural pool that Juan learned to swim in when he was a boy, went for supper, then spent some time in town square, where everyone seems to gather every night to celebrate life.
Tommorrow, the work begins.

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Colombia Deployment 2016 is now active

11 March, 2016 at 9:34 am

IMG_2144So after a number of travel delays due to weather, most of our team is now settled in at the Cuerpo de Bomberos in San Gil. We’ve received a great welcome from the local bomberos, had a chat with the local press, and are now getting ready for 3 days of instruction.
Last night we met a number of the local children, who were very excited to see us, went on a tour of the City, and are looking forward to going caving this afternoon!

Inaugural FRITA/National Firefighters Academy (ANB) of Chile training program wraps up.

10 March, 2016 at 5:06 am

Muchisimas gracias a toda la gente en la Academia Nacional de Bomberos y todos los bomberos por su hospitalidad, profesionalismo, amistad y fraternidad. Para nosotros siendo este el primer programa, fue exitoso y de gran provecho. Ojala podamos continuar a desarrollar esta relacion para el futuro.

Thanks to everyone at the National Academy and all the Chilean firefighters for your hospitality, professionalism, friendship, and fraternity. Our first program in Chile was successful and beneficial for all.  We hope to continue to work together and strengthen this relationship in the years to come.

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Chile 2016 Academia Nacional de Bomberos and FRITA. High Rise response second class of three.

5 March, 2016 at 4:44 pm

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New program in Chile underway

2 March, 2016 at 3:03 pm

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El Salvador team departs today

19 February, 2016 at 3:09 pm

Bon voyage, Team El Salvador, departing today for San Salvador and another great year of training and exchange with our sisters and brothers of the Cuerpo de Bomberos de El Salvador! 9 years and counting!!