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Coast Guard Conducts Rescue Swimmer Training in Philippines

03 August 2015

From Sgt. Valerie Eppler, Pacific Partnership Public Affairs

Four U.S. Coast Guardsmen held a three-day water search and rescue seminar for Filipino emergency responders July 26-29 as part of Pacific Partnership 2015.

ROXAS CITY, Philippines — Four U.S. Coast Guardsmen held a three-day water search and rescue (WASAR) seminar for Filipino emergency responders at the Villareal Stadium July 26-29 as part of Pacific Partnership 2015.

The training, which included classroom lectures and practical application, was intended to act as a refresher of previously learned WASAR skills, as well as an introduction to different techniques the U.S. Coast Guard uses.

“These approaches and releases are techniques used by our rescue swimmers,” said Coast Guard Cmdr. Charles Guerrero, from Charleston, South Carolina. “As you approach a survivor in the water, there are many things that can go wrong. This training is meant to help the rescue swimmers assess what to do in case things do go wrong.”

The classroom lessons included operational risk management, mass rescue operations, boat safety and search and rescue planning and execution. The practical application instruction included three different approaches, two releases and two escapes in a pool.

On the last day, the class conducted a final assessment of the techniques taught the previous two days in open water.

“We simulated that a boat sank and there were two survivors,” said U.S. Coast Guard Aviation Survival Technician 2nd Class Robyn Hamilton, from Ventura, Calif. “They had to handle a panicking survivor and a survivor who was unconscious in the water. We were gauging their ability to assess and control the situation and their ability to apply the techniques to get the survivors to shore safely.”

Participants included Filipino first responders, the Capiz Emergency Response Team, firemen, policemen, Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine Coast Guard.

Philippine Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Mark Anthony Sumanoy, a rescue diver, said he was pleased with the training. He said he is a rescue diver instructor and the instruction was good for him to gain a different perspective on similar techniques.

The U.S. Coast Guardsmen intended the techniques they taught to be building blocks, basic techniques that are adaptable to a variety of situations.

Guerrero said he believes this training is an important part of Pacific Partnership 2015 because it builds water rescue capacity among the islands in the Southeast Asia region that are prone to natural disasters like typhoons or tsunamis.

Pacific Partnership is in its tenth iteration and is the largest annual multilateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

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