Rotary District 9675 Governor Stephen Britten has announced a Rotary will send a team of NSW emergency services professionals to Vanuatu to facilitate the training of local emergency service teams.
Rotary Vocational Training Teams (VTT) are groups of professionals who travel abroad to teach local professionals about a particular field of expertise and to learn more about their own.
The project was made possible through funds raised at, Rotary NSW Emergency Services Community Awards events (including the original Illawarra-based Pride of the Illawarra Awards) plus donations from District 9675 Rotary Clubs.
Team Leader and Rotarian Ian Johnston from the Rotary Club of Kiama said it was “the fulfilment of a long-standing Rotary goal with the outbound VTT team heading to Vanuatu for four weeks in August”.
“It has been a long but rewarding journey to get the project to this point and thanks go out to the many Rotarians, emergency service agencies and partners who have helped make it possible,” he said.
An inbound team of Vanuatu emergency service professionals will undertake a reciprocal visit to NSW in 2018.
According to the United Nations University World Risk Index, Vanuatu is the world’s most at-risk country for natural hazards.
In the event of a disaster occurring, local emergency services are on their own for at least the first 48-72 hours when most serious injuries occur (i.e. before foreign aid and assistance starts to arrive).
Therefore, local agencies need to be appropriately trained and self-sufficient to cover this critical period.
The types of incidents encountered during natural disasters are similar to those faced by emergency services on a daily basis.
The main difference being, they are occurring on a mass scale. In addition to training, Rotary has also donated new rescue equipment as part of the project.
The team will include training in the safe use and maintenance of the new equipment.
The outbound Rotary VTT Team to Vanuatu will include Ian Johnston who is the Rotary Team Leader (Rotary Club of Kiama) as well as: Brian Graham, ESA Liaison Officer, NSW Rural Fire Service; David King Training Officer, NSW Rural Fire Service; James Manuao, Training Officer, Fire & Rescue NSW; Paul Marshall, Training Officer, NSW Volunteer Rescue Association; Paul McQueen Training Officer, NSW State Emergency Service.
Vanuatu is an island nation located in the South Pacific, east of northern Australia and to the west of Fiji. It boasts a population of over 240,000 people and is subject to cyclone and earthquake activity.