19 Wing personnel load up the C-17 military transport aircraft in preparation for departure to Nepal. Seven firefighters trained in urban search and rescue from 19 Wing Comox left the base Sunday afternoon to offer disaster assistance in Nepal following the 7.8-magnitude quake which hit the country Saturday.

19 Wing sending members to Nepal

With 14 hours’ notice, a seven-member team composed of firefighters from 19 Wing Comox left the Valley Sunday afternoon to offer disaster assistance to those affected by the 7.8-magnitude quake in Nepal which hit the country Saturday.

The members are part of a light urban search and rescue team, tasked to assist the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) out of Trenton, Ont., explained Lt.-Col. Clinton Mowbray, acting wing commander for CFB Comox.

“They’ll be put on the ground and the first concern of the team is to make sure the area is safe to operate in. Once they’ve made that determination, they’ll work with other members of the Canadian Forces and other nations that are providing assistance … to start helping to see if they can find any survivors and provide relief to the survivors in Nepal,” he explained to media.

Mowbray said Canada is usually one of the first countries to offer assistance to nations in need.

 

When he first learned of the quake, he noted it wasn’t a surprise the request came to assist.

“Canada has not turned its back to any nation that’s been in need like this. Haiti is a great example a few years ago; Canada was one of the first countries on the ground and delivered a substantial amount of assistance.”

The team hopes to be able to help with survivors, but also people who have been recovered and may not have homes, he added. They will also be providing assistance with clean water, hospital facilities and medical attention.

Sgt. David Hillier, one of the seven members heading to Nepal, said once they meet up with the DART team in Trenton, their goal is to locate victims or people trapped in rubble piles – sometimes for days – using sonar or acoustic equipment onboard their plane.

“Any area that has a large disaster, one of the things that we usually come across is the local population is usually in full swing of getting things organized and looking for victims, so infrastructure is usually under a lot of damage in those areas. We except to see a lot of rubble, a lot of buildings (down) … and a lot of civilians looking for survivors.”

Along with seven members from the DART team, the 14 searchers will also do reconnaissance, survey the area to do damage assessments, gather information and perform light surface rescue as well, which includes technical search and rescue – high angle rescue, patient movement and medical assistance.

“This is something that we’ve actually trained for in the past three or four years. It all stemmed from the earthquake that happened in Haiti in 2010. From there, we’ve done a lot of training to go towards an earthquake environment so the guys are really excited,” Hillier added.

“We put a lot of time into training, travelling all over the country and doing different courses, so we’re definitely looking forward to getting over there and doing some good.”

The Canadian Red Cross has a fundraising website set up for anyone wishing to donate to the emergency relief efforts. Go to bit.ly/1bwG29L to donate.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Game on! Outdoor pickleball season starts up in the Comox Valley

Comox Valley Pickleball Association members Evie MacDonald and Donny Cruickshank (near court)… Continue reading

Island Health signs working agreement to turn former Comox hospital into a ‘dementia village’

Island Health has signed a project development agreement with Providence Living to… Continue reading

SPRING IN THE GARDEN: The fragrant, beautiful lilac is an asset to any garden

Ellen Presley Special to The Record I have been thinking a lot… Continue reading

Comox Valley Community Foundation announces second round of emergency funding

$57,400 in grants distributed to 12 local non-profits

LUSH Valley comes to the aid of Washington Inn tenants

Submitted by BC Housing The reality of the COVID-19 pandemic descended on… Continue reading

Comox Valley business map offers information on local eateries, grocery stores and more

Search and click for hours and services offered during the COVID-19 pandemic

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Comox Valley RCMP still looking for missing man last seen two months ago

Comox Valley RCMP is still looking for John Wesley (a.k.a. Wes) Edwards,… Continue reading

MOTIVATION MONDAY: Chairs are for more than just sitting on

Raida heads outdoors for today’s routine

Dump truck in Nanaimo snags power lines, snaps hydro pole, crashes

No injuries in incident Monday morning on Old Victoria Road

Ferry sailings scheduled once again at Nanaimo’s Departure Bay terminal

BC Ferries announces that resumption of service June 3 includes four daily round trips

Advocacy group helps veterans at national level

An advocacy group is helping members of the military receive the support… Continue reading

Kelowna man charged with harming a hamster

The 20-year-old Kelowna man faces several animal cruelty charges

Most Read