As if a hurricane or earthquake had happened, Nicoya was the location for a fictitious scenario used to train 85 firefighters from all over the country who belong to the Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) technical assistance committee.
The workshop was held from August 17 to 23 at a quarry belonging to the company Pedregal. During the event, firefighters had to build a campsite and simulate that they were in a high-risk situation.
“These trainings are very important since we prepare firefighters to react to situations that the country could face, such as natural disasters,” explained William Hernandez, a USAR leader.
The property where the campsite was located, where participants had to eat, sleep and take care of physical necessities, had rubble, devastated structures and mountainous scenes that they had to climb.
During the training, which is called CREL (Light Structure Rescue Course), five doctors and two veterinarians also participated; the veterinarians attended to the canine rescue unit.
In order to make the experience as realistic as possible, the firefighters were woken up in the early morning to attend a rescue operation. In addition, in some cases they had to find bodies (dummies with the shape of real bodies) that had been hidden beforehand.
“This course prepares us for reality. Here we face strong heat, complicated terrains [and] sleeping in a campsite, in other words, everything. Here in these courses you see who is able to handle rescues and who is not,” said Josue Araya, a member of the USAR group.
In addition to the field activities, the firefighters received theoretical workshops on logistics, first aid and collapsed structures, among other topics, at the facilities of the Nicoya Firefighters Corps.