NASSAU, The Bahamas – The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), recently collaborated with the Swift Water Rescue Unit (Exuma), and Island Administrator Christian Palacious, to conduct a swift water emergency rescue drill that was designed to test the Unit’s response capabilities. The Swift Water team was led by Sgt. 1414 Kelalrico Burrows, Royal Bahamas Police Force.
(The Exercise is in line with NEMA’s ongoing efforts to create more resilient communities throughout the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.)
Swift Water Rescue teams are often deployed to help manage water-related emergencies and conduct water-based search and rescue operations during hurricanes or other large-scale, water-based emergencies. The teams are especially useful in those emergencies/disastrous events in which flooding is involved.
Disaster managers and planners say the teams are “essential”, particularly for low-lying, flood prone areas, as water can move at surprisingly fast speeds under numerous types of conditions and can contain many hazards in the form of floating debris, downed electricity poles and lines, floating gas tanks and vehicles,
During the simulation exercise, the team, consisting of nine persons, was dispatched by Administrator Palacious, after receiving reports of a (simulated) boating accident (as part of the exercise). The team departed Brown’s Marina to conduct search and rescue operations in the area of Sandy Cay where they successfully recovered and transported 4 injured persons (simulation exercise) back to the Marina for (simulated) treatment by Emergency Medical Services personnel who were awaiting their arrival.
NEMA officials said: “This training makes the community better prepared to manage, respond to and recover from disasters. It is NEMA’s intent to conduct more trainings throughout The Bahamas to create more resilient communities, which in turn, creates a more resilient country.”