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Firefighters Training Visit to Washington a Success
The Chilean firefighters received course certificates "con mucho amor propio y fuerza interna por sobre la preparación física de la cual carecíamos." They feel that the course should be taught in Chile since the country is predisposed to earthquakes and natural catastrophes that require both rapid response and sufficient autonomy while external help is on the way.
They hope that the response to their report on the training in Washington will be approval of an Urban Rescue course for Chilean firefighters and a schedule for its implementation. They plan to use the training materials supplied during the Washington course in Spanish translation, which is currently available. They also want to include the participation of Washington state instructors.
After the course, the Chilean trainers participated with Olympia and Redmond firefighters in all their usual shift activities, "apreciando la utilización del tiempo, el aprendizaje continuo y la camaradería y apertura que es un nexo común entre todos los bomberos del mundo." They also visited the Department of Ecologys Spill Operations Section to see the equipment and type of work they carry out to respond to dangerous materials incidents. Leonardo wrote: "We felt that the days spent in various localities of the state and the interchange with our hosts, especially with emergency response professionals, was extremely enriching and useful in a practical sense for our work in a sensitive area, where a timely and efficient response can save lives and minimize damage to property and the environment."
The firefighters airfare was paid for by the Chilean Firefighter Academy, and Partners provided a small grant of $1,100 from the Emergency Preparedness Program, which is funded through U.S. AID. Washington home hosts were Partners Bill Zachmann and Rudy Alvarado.