Colombia 2015

Colombia Summary 2015

FRITA Team: Chris Driessen, Tim Hannan, Eric Picher, William Heng

Submitted by Team Lead Chris Driessen:

Hey all; Colombia was my first deployment and first experience as a Team Lead. Being my first deployment I don’t have any other deployments to compare to, but with that in mind it went fairly well and I strongly believe we made a difference.

We concentrated on the things we felt would make the biggest impact with the equipment they had. We first of all had them show us how they do things and explain local building construction. We worked on ladder skills, ladder rescues, hose work , PPE, auto-extrication, Ropes & Knots and emphasized more of defensive/exterior attack skills.
The first town, Cienaga was a very keen and disciplined group. We worked on PPE, fire ground safety, auto ex , ladders/rescues, CPR, black out searches and following a hose line to safety.

The second town, Malambo has a beautiful new truck . We showed them how to load pre connects for 1.5 &2.5 lines. We utilized the training maze in the back of their fire station for black out search and self rescue techniques. We also taught how to search a large room. A brief auto-ex demo was also provided in conjunction with delivery of new equipment to the nearby airport fire department.

Both departments pushed for a higher level of training, requesting R.I.T. , rope rescue and other specialty skill sets.
The next FRITA team needs to be ready to probably start at the beginning again, since course participants often vary from year to year and maintenance of these skill sets can be a challenge for the host fire service. Overall, we tried to stress the “I’m number 1 ” safety rules. They are all great at what they do with the tools they have and their hearts and determination were really inspiring to the whole team that went.

The next FRITA team going needs to know it’s not all beach days, and to avoid the shrimp on the beach as well as tap water. Finally, our team came away with one key point for prospective FRITA Team members: There is nothing to fear about going to Colombia other than a sunburn or sneaky hangover. Its been given a bad wrap for many years and its a shame.