Hands On Advanced Search and Rescue for CVTL staff and volunteers

Search and Rescue is an important skill to have when dealing with disasters anywhere but particularly for CVTL in Timor-Leste. As a humanitarian organization,  with  Branches in all the 13 Municipalities, we have staff and many active volunteers the country.  We are often called upon by the government and the community to respond to disasters.

In 2017 CVTL formed a Search and Rescue team with 20 members who were trained with the support of PMI (Palang Merah Indonesia /Indonesia Red Cross).  This was followed up by a second refresher training in 2021, to prepare the teams to be more prepares for disasters and other crises.

Due to changing staff and situations, the team needs to have regular training to CVTL needs to including Advanced Training in Search and Rescue (SAR) so they can respond safely and timely. In September 2023, CVTL had another SAR training, through PMI (who provided three trainers/facilitators).

This training was designed for the CVTL SAR teams who are involved in emergency response management both in urban and rural areas. 25 staff and volunteers attended this training, (Female – 4 and Male – 21), from the National Headquarters, Manatuto, Baucau, Dili, Bobonaro, and Oecussi Branches. By the end of the training, the participants had the skills and capacity to minimize loss of life, injury, and property loss and damage, during disaster situations.

The training was a combination of interactive presentations, with hands-on practice after each session, practical case studies, an intense simulation, and participants learnt how to use safety rescue material – SAR uniforms. Some of the topics included Ascending and Descending, Emergency Response Plan, Biomechanics Trauma, Lifting and Lowering, Victim Access Techniques, use of chainsaws, Mechanical Advantage System (MAS), Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA), Road Accident Rescue (RAR) and Fire, and the role of the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG). 

This training was carried out as a result of support funding from the Australia Red Cross – for which we are grateful.

Cruz Vermelha de Timor-Leste (CVTL – Red Cross Timor-Leste) was established in year 2000. It was formally recognized by the Government of Timor-Leste in 2005 through a Decree Law. In 2005, CVTL has been recognized by International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) as a national society and later recognized by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) as its 183rd member. CVTL has its Headquarters in Dili.

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