Colombia – 2014 Summary

25 February, 2014 at 2:13 pm

As follow up on the initial post-depolyment post, FRITA is providing the following synopsis: On February 13th, four Canadian fire service instructors deployed to the Atlantico Department of Colombia as members of the Fire Rescue International Training Association (FRITA) inaugural deployment to this nation. The Atlantico Department is the third smallest of the country’s departments but its population of 2,272,170 makes it one of the most densely populated, incorporating 23 municipalities.
Over the course of the ten day deployment, the FRITA team travelled to several fire stations, met with key fire service officers, Colombian government representatives, and representatives of regional and international organizations, such as AREMCA (http://www.aremca.gov.co/) and the European Union.

The team was based out of the city of Barranquilla and utilized the fire station in Campo de la Cruz as the training hub, given its central location for many of the smaller municipalities in the region. Participants, apparatus, and equipment from the towns of Sabanalarga, Sabanagrande, Malambo, and Barranquilla all converged on Campo de la Cruz for the 5 day/40 hour training course. Topics covered followed the JIBC: Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) Basic Fire Fighter Certificate program as a guide, which included a ropes & knots segment, ventilation, personal protective equipment, SCBA, Hose & water supply, ladders, and fire fighter safety. In addition, the instructors provided training on Wildlands fire suppression tactics and structural firefighting procedures. The program culminated with several live-burn simulations, entailing wildland firefighting, structural fire suppression, and victim rescue utilizing the ladder and rope skills.

With media and dignitaries present, the final day demonstrated that the Colombian fire fighters have a keen desire to learn and apply their newly acquired skills. Through ongoing partnership and collaboration, it is hoped that FRITA will be able to return to Colombia in the near future and once again assist in the professional development of both volunteer and career fire fighters through exchange of knowledge and training that will help these dedicated Colombian fire fighters continue serving and protecting their communities.

Special thanks to all our partners that made this program successful.

Brian Hutchinson