Members of the Territorial Search and Rescue Team (TSART) have gained theoretical and hands-on experience in Field Search Techniques and Rope Rescue following their participation in a two-week course held March 28 to April 8.
The TSART is coordinated by the Department of Disaster Management (DDM), and is comprised of 24 first responders from Her Majesty’s Customs, Virgin Islands Fire and Rescue Service, the Royal Virgin Islands Police, and the BVI Airports Authority Rescue and Firefighting Services.
DDM Training Manager, Ms. Carishma Hicks said that during and immediately after a hazard impact, a well-trained TSART can save lives and prevent injuries.
“During the response phase, which is that period immediately after an impact occurs, some of the first persons to deploy are those capable of carrying out search, rescue, and immediate first aid,” Ms. Hicks said. “These are the officers that can find and save persons who have been lost or injured.”
After completing the theoretical portion of the course, TSART members successfully carried out a practical exercise that saw them simulating a search and rescue operation near Brandywine Bay Beach.
“The team was able to put what they had learned into practice,” Ms. Hicks said, adding, “They utilised gear, including ropes, to divide into teams and carry out a search operation that covered the beach and the bluffs above Brandywine Bay.”
Financial support for the course was provided by the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office as part of a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2020.
TSART was founded in 2014 and has participated in a number of operations including the 2020 search for Junior Peters. The team can be deployed by the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force, or during national emergencies or disaster situations, by the Director of the National Emergency Operations Centre.