While USNS Comfort medical services continued at the Antioch Baptist Church and the St. Paul’s Community Centre, Comfort’s crew also conducted the first session of a three-day subject matter expert exchange centred on emergency response, coordinated by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). The multi-national team of the Comfort will demonstrate, working with the Nevis Disaster Management Department and six other agencies, U.S. Navy helicopter capabilities for disaster relief and rescue operations, watercraft fire fighting techniques, diving operations, and domestic coordination of emergency response systems. Overall, the events will be conducted in coordination with eight St. Kitts and Nevis agencies and representatives of five countries to provide a rigorous, multi-national exchange.
The event began Wednesday at the Department of Marine Resources and will continue through Friday, October 11. Over the three days, topics include maritime rescues, rescue swimmer techniques and procedures, and a diving exercise. On Thursday, October 10, the St. Kitts and Nevis Fire and Rescue Department will board the USNS Comfort to exchange procedures and conduct drills for shipboard fire fighting. Meanwhile, St. Kitts and Nevis Coast Guard divers alongside U.S. Navy divers and an Argentine Navy diver will conduct a diving exercise.
Also on Thursday, October 10, children from local primary and secondary schools selected by the Ministry of Education will be able to view an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter that is embarked aboard the hospital ship. At the Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport, teachers, students, and local citizens will have an up-close view of the aircraft and the rescue equipment that naval helicopters utilize. They will also meet medical personnel from the Comfort participating in the medical mission.
The events conclude Friday, October 11 with three rescue demonstrations. A U.S. Navy helicopter, a St. Kitts and Nevis Coast Guard boat, and the Fire and Rescue Services will all perform rescues using lessons learned during the exchanges throughout the week.
Emergency medical service teams will also participate to exercise their rescue response. The event begins at 9:00am in the Basseterre Harbour off the Bay Road in front of the Public Market.