Central American Service Members Train on Rescue Operations

first_imgBy Kay Valle/Diálogo December 11, 2017 Military personnel from the Humanitarian Rescue Unit of the Conference of Central American Armed Forces (UHR-CFAC, per its Spanish acronym) participated in the first joint training on search and rescue operations. The UHR-CFAC course trained 30 service members in the city of Comayagua, northwest of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, October 29th–November 3rd, 2017. The training, provided through the Regional Humanitarian Aid Training Center (CARAH, per its Spanish acronym) in Honduras, included six service members from each CFAC member nation. “The five participating teams conducted a joint technical, tactical, and operational exercise to progress professionally,” Honduran Army Colonel José Luis Mendieta Corea, director of CARAH and commander of UHR for the Honduran Armed Forces, told Diálogo. “That’s necessary to get to the right level of operational readiness.” Participants trained on topics such as incident command systems as well as map reading, knots, and rigging. They also demonstrated their knowledge in search and rescue, aquatic rescue, triage, and victim packaging, among other skills. Humanitarian Rescue Unit Central America suffers the effects of natural disasters such as tropical storms, hurricanes, earthquakes, forest fires, floods, and landslides, among others. To counter these threats, readiness and response must remain at the highest levels and be carried out in coordination. UHR-CFAC, a branch of CFAC, began its operations in 2000. It was established to meet international aid requirements in the event of natural or human-caused disasters. UHR-CFAC conducts humanitarian aid and rescue operations upon request of the country affected. The unit is made up of service members from each member armed force’s UHR. Since its founding, UHR-CFAC participated in various humanitarian aid operations. Its most recent operation was the earthquake in Mexico in September 2017. According to Col. Mendieta, UHR-CFAC can “assist its member nations and other countries throughout the world, in coordination with public agencies that provide emergency response.” Central American cooperation El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras founded CFAC in November 1997, as a specialized regional military organization. The Dominican Republic joined in 2007. CFAC’s purpose is to promote cooperation efforts, coordination, and mutual support among the armed forces. In addition to providing support operations during natural disasters, CFAC deals with threats such as narcotrafficking and organized crime, and also participates in peacekeeping operations. CFAC has specialized centers in each country: in the Dominican Republic, there is the Regional Humanitarian Rights Training Center; in Guatemala, the Regional Peacekeeping Operations Training Center; in El Salvador, the Regional Training Center for Countering Transnational Crime; and in Nicaragua, the International Humanitarian Demining Training Center. CFAC established its newest center, CARAH, in Honduras in 2014. “With regard to humanitarian aid, all nations will converge in Honduras,” Col. Mendieta said. “The plan is to continue this annual [UHR-CFAC] training with the same number of participants per team, and the mission is to achieve a successful training opportunity.” First joint training Instructors from each CFAC member nation taught the exercise with support from the Honduran firefighters and the Honduran group Personnel Used in Fire and Rescue Missions. Each phase of the training event took place in different parts of Comayagua to mimic disaster conditions. “This went beyond learning on the ground,” Col. Mendieta said. “It involved improving every detail. And now, as a result, our disaster response will be standardized. For example, for the search and rescue course, we performed a vertical rescue from the bridge over the Humuya River, and an aquatic rescue at the small dam in the town of Taladro.” The instructors evaluated all five teams using a point system based on conceptual understanding, physical performance, and conduct. Guatemala’s UHR earned the highest scores. “Guatemala’s UHR took first place due to their dedication, hard work, leadership, and spirit of selflessness and commitment,” Guatemalan Army First Lieutenant Milton Estuario Buc Galindo, commander of the Guatemalan UHR’s Technical Unit for Civic-Military Operations. “The training we’ve had has been efficient and effective,” 1st Lt. Buc said. “Our personnel has the knowledge necessary to respond to any possible event.”last_img read more

Continue Reading

Jamaicans warned against e-cigarettes

first_imgIn Jamaica, the Senior Medical Officer (SMO) of the National Chest Hospital, Dr. Terry Baker, is urging citizens to stay away from using electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes). He warns they are dangerous and should not be viewed as a viable option to regular cigarettes.Dr. Baker says although e-cigarettes have been put forward as a safer alternative to cigarettes, dangers still abound. “A number of persons have turned to e-cigarettes or vaping in the belief that it is not harmful, including persons who are using it as a transitional tool to quit smoking,” she said.  While acknowledging some of her colleagues have not drawn the same conclusions, she is among those that are of the firm view that the product is harmful.Not as innocuous as some believe“We believe that they are not as innocuous as some people may think,” she said, noting that there are certain substances used in the manufacture of e-cigarettes, and the vapor that is produced is not standardized. While e-cigarettes do not contain tobacco, they have other substances that have been shown to be toxic, such as nicotine, which is highly addictive.“You then run the risk of having a myriad of substances that are going to be inhaled into the lungs. Persons will say they are not inhaling, but you can’t accurately determine what is going to be entering the body or the lungs,” she added.Contain dangerous formaldehydeAccording to the senior health official, some of the other flavorings included to make e-cigarettes attractive have been known to cause lung disease. She pointed out that some e-cigarettes even contain the dangerous formaldehyde, which is used as a preservative or embalming fluid.“While it might not be in the concentration that embalmers use, by no means does formaldehyde belong in your lungs. It is carcinogenic,” she warned. Dr. Baker noted that some places in the United States have regulated the use of e-cigarettes in a similar manner to regular cigarettes.“They have prevented sale to minors and are looking at putting graphic health warnings on the packages, just like cigarettes. So, while research continues into vaping and e-cigarettes, they are by no means harmless,” she said.Other than lung cancer, cigarette smoking is associated with a number of other cancers, including cancers of the tongue, breast, cervix, stomach and colon as well as heart disease. National Chest Hospital is the only specialist hospital in the island that specifically treats patients with chest-related illnesses. Jamaican medical officer cautions that e-cigarettes are a dangerous alternative to traditional cigarettes.last_img read more

Continue Reading

Support Group On A Mission To Bring Documentary To Alpena

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThisLachine- Suicide has one of the hardest effects on families. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, between six and twenty friends and family members are usually left to pick up the pieces and feel the most pain. The Long Rapids Grief After Suicide Support Group wants to bring a documentary dealing with suicide and mental illness to Alpena. The documentary entitled “Suicide: The Ripple Effect” follows the life of suicide survivor Kevin Hines as he struggles with several mental health issues and uses his own story to help save others. Spearheaded by Licensed Social Worker Amy Will, she believes this film will help break the stigma around suicide and mental health issues.“Mental health issues and suicide are still taboo in this area and people are afraid of what they don’t understand,” said Will. “I’m really hoping that this documentary film can clear that up for people and show people that there is help available and show people that if you see someone struggling that it’s really okay to reach out and help them.”Will has felt the effects of suicide first hand and knows the pain of losing a loved one. Her small group invites adults who have lost someone close to suicide. They meet the second and fourth Wednesday of every month. Will sees the lack resources for suicide and mental health as an opportunity to invite documentaries like “Suicide: The Ripple Effect” to help people talk about the issues and know that help is available.The biggest dilemma the group faces in bringing this documentary to Alpena is the fee and number of attendees. In order to have the film screened at the AMC State Theatre in Downtown Alpena, 50 tickets need to be sold. Right now, folks can purchase a ticket at the website Gathr by clicking here. Tickets are $12. If enough tickets are sold, the showing will be on June 19 at 7:30pm. If not enough tickets are sold, a refund will be issued.Visit the Long Rapids Suicide Support and Education Facebook Event to reserve tickets, submit questions, etc.AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThisContinue ReadingPrevious What’s Trending for May 28Next Local Organization Teaches Students Social Media Posting Do’s and Dont’slast_img read more

Continue Reading

Aduana plead not guilty to charge

first_imgAduana Stars on Thursday, July 31,2014 submitted their written Statement of Defence to the charge leveled against them by the GFA Prosecutor following petitions brought by Ebusua Dwarfs, Accra Hearts of Oak and King Faisal. In their Statement, Aduana Stars pleaded not guilty to the charge and waived their right to personal hearing as they opted to submit a Written Statement of Defence supported by a number of attachments of evidential value to be considered by the GFA Disciplinary Committee.“We wish to clearly state that we, Aduana Stars, are not guilty of the charge against us as we had filed before the Disciplinary Committee of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) a valid Motion for Stay of Execution Pending Appeal supported a an Affidavit during the period when we played the said two matches against Heart of Lions and Berekum Chelsea,” the Statement of Defence stated.Aduana also stated that: “we wish to urge the Disciplinary Committee to dismiss the instant charge against Aduana Stars as being without merit. Indeed, to decide otherwise would be contrary not only to the well-established position of law but also the very basis and relevance for the process provided for in Articles 37(17)(b) and 37(17)(c) of the General Regulations of the GFA. Aduana Stars is not guilty of the charge of violating the GFA Regulations.”last_img read more

Continue Reading