Asia Pacific Alliance – Sri Lanka

30°C Colombo | July 19, 2024

A Civil-Military Collaboration: A-PAD International Swift Water Search & Rescue Training

A Civil-Military Collaboration: A-PAD International Swift Water Search & Rescue Training

Jul 27, 2023

The annual A-PAD International Swift Water Search and Rescue Training was conducted from July 13th, 2023, to July 20th, 2023, at China Bay, Trincomalee, Sri Lanka. Aiming towards reaching INSARAG standards in Search and Rescue within the national context, this civil-military initiative was launched in Sri Lanka by A-PAD International during the year 2017 to foster disaster management efforts in a nation that faces recurrent climate-induced disasters.

This July, Level 01 training was conducted with the cooperation of the Sri Lanka Air Force. Two training sessions were hosted and coordinated, and each batch featured a Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) training session for the team of 60 enthusiastic participants who represented a variety of public and private sectors in Sri Lanka, which included Lion Brewery Ceylon PLC, Aitken Spence PLC, The National Body of Sri Lanka Life Saving, Sri Lanka Medical Association, Serendib Educational Foundation, The Pearl Protectors Sri Lanka, A-PAD Sri Lanka and the University of Colombo, alongside enthusiastic personnel from the Sri Lanka Air Force. The broad spectrum of participants ensured a robust exchange of opinions and experiences, generating a cooperative civil-military learning environment that will undoubtedly benefit the entire nation.

The training was held under the supervision of seven internationally certified trainers, with support received from the Embassy of Japan through the Overseas Development Assistance Program of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan. Participants received hands-on exposure to various rescue operations on swift water, including bay rescue, boat capsize, Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) maintenance, night training, swift water rafting, and throw bag rescue, along with exposure to CPR. By simulating different scenarios and providing practical training, participants were able to develop a comprehensive understanding of the challenges and techniques involved in swift water rescue operations. The inclusion of CPR training further equipped them with life-saving skills that are crucial in emergency situations.

Mr. Firzan Hashim, the country director of A-PAD Sri Lanka, set the tone for the awarding ceremonies of both batches by emphasizing the substantial knowledge transfer that the A-PAD International Search and Rescue Training Program from Japan has contributed to the national civil-military sector. He further highlighted how professionalism is fostered through this training, allowing the military and civil sectors to be better prepared and to cooperate during crises for the future of the country, as he stressed how crucial it is for the military and civilian sectors to work together consistently to respond to emergencies and safeguard the populace and infrastructure of the country. He also expressed his appreciation for the Japanese government and A-PAD’s ongoing assistance in building Sri Lanka’s capacity for disaster management. The awarding ceremonies were graced by Air Commodore Deshapriya Silva, Commandant of the Sri Lanka Air Force Academy at China Bay, who highlighted the anticipated effects of climate change and the role of the Air Force amid climatic catastrophes as the guardians of the sky. He advocated how the civil-military cooperation fostered by this training adds value to disaster management efforts. The commandant commended A-PAD SL for presenting a platform for Sri Lanka Air Force personnel to train with the civil sector to cope with swift water disasters and expressed confidence in their ability to act during disasters with the practical knowledge acquired from this comprehensive training program.

In conclusion, the training emphasized the importance of coordination and communication between the civil-military partnership in ensuring seamless and efficient rescue operations in Sri Lanka. A-PAD SL is grateful to the commander of the Sri Lanka Air Force, Air Marshal Udeni Rajapaksa, and the commandant of the Sri Lanka Air Force Academy at China Bay, Air Commodore Deshapriya Silva, for their tremendous assistance provided during the training program. A-PAD SL looks forward to continued collaboration with the Sri Lanka Air Force and the private and public sector organizations that took part in the program for future disaster response efforts, ensuring the safety and well-being of the nation.

Boat Capsize Drill
Swift Water Rafting
Training on Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) Maintenance
Guidance on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Jump Technique
Night Team Swim: Following the Defensive Swim Technique and Maintaining a Ferry Angle to Cross the Bay
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) training session

Collaboration between A-PAD SL and the Sri Lanka Air Force
Certificate Distribution to the exemplary military trainees of the Search and Rescue 2023
Certificate Distribution to the exemplary civil trainees of the Search and Rescue 2023
The Internationally Certified Trainers
Participants of Session 1
Participants of Session 2