Salvadoran Air Force Aids Civilians With Rescue Hoists Donated by SOUTHCOM

Salvadoran Air Force Aids Civilians With Rescue Hoists Donated by SOUTHCOM

By Dialogo
June 05, 2015





The Salvadoran Air Force (FAS, for its Spanish acronym) is now better prepared to save disaster victims and transport them to a safe place thanks to two rescue hoists and support equipment for emergency workers that the United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) has donated.

“The hoists are very valuable to us, because we will be able to help the population in any sort of condition or situation: dark, rainy or cloudy,” said Colonel José León Gómez of the FAS Center for Military Aeronautical Training (CIMA). “We can even use them to move heavy objects obstructing the path on a road or that have fallen on houses or schools.”

They're each worth about $450,000 total, and are fitted to UH-1H helicopters; they can rescue up to three people at once, and are capable of carrying up to 600 pounds. The hoists are designed to perform equally well at sea, in the mountains, in the rainforest or in the city. The donation also included a set of accessories for rescue workers to ensure the equipment is working at its best, including two stretchers to transport victims with multiple traumas and a jungle penetrator – also known as a forest penetrator, a wedge-shaped stand that can lift a victim onto a helicopter – to reach places that are inaccessible by conventional means.

These tools will all greatly contribute in the FAS's efforts to assist the civilian population in emergencies such as landslides, earthquakes, fires or floods through the Humanitarian Rescue Unit (UHR).

A team of Salvadoran Military engineers designed the necessary electrical connections for the equipment to work on the helicopters.

Training and collaboration


To maximize their efficiency, FAS service members trained with two groups of SOUTHCOM specialists who have experience working with the hoists and accessories, and who shared their knowledge about installation, maintenance, and operation. The first group demonstrated techniques to maintain and install the hoists; the second team, comprised of U.S. Air Force pilots and crew members, shared their experience using the equipment to conduct helicopter rescue missions.

Corporal Roberto Contreras, a FAS nurse and rescue worker who participated in the workshops, said the equipment and the knowledge he acquired will benefit the civilian population in El Salvador and throughout Central America.

“The FAS always stands ready to cooperate in any circumstances our nation might require,” Cpl. Contreras said. “And we maintain close ties to aid organizations to provide our teams’ support. Without a doubt, we are better prepared to do this now than we were before.”

The equipment has already helped the FAS prepare in its efforts to help he civilian population. For example, when on January 3 the Las Cascadas shopping center in the department of La Libertad was struck by a large fire, the FAS deployed UH-1H helicopters equipped with the new hoists to rescue victims if necessary.

“We were ready with the hoists to pull victims out of the fire, but fortunately we didn’t need to use them because everyone was able to get out in time,” Col. León said. “This showed us how important is it to have the latest equipment when rendering aid in national emergencies.”

Friendship and support


Aviation pilot Colonel Ángel María González, FAS Deputy Chief of Staff, said SOUTHCOM's donation is one more example of the strong ties of unity and brotherhood between the two nations’ Armed Forces. The donation “stands as a testament for future generations to the excellent and solid bilateral working and friendly relations between the FAS and the U.S. Military.”

Part of SOUTHCOM's outreach efforts with Central and South American and Caribbean partner nations includes cooperative strategies such as the Humanitarian Assistance Program (HAP), which works year round to respond to crises and contingencies in a three-step process of (1) building facilities, (2) training local authorities to properly manage disasters and (3) providing equipment to bolster each host nation’s own capacity to manage these disasters. HAP representatives work directly with partner nation government authorities to initially define their immediate needs and subsequently strengthen their ability to respond to humanitarian crises, natural and man-made disasters, and disease mitigation and prevention initiatives.

Colonel Robert Wagner, senior U.S. Defense official for El Salvador, demonstrated his respect for the Salvadoran civilian aid institutions when he delivered the hoists.

“This dedication also reflects the confidence and respect that we have for [institutions such as] Civil Protection, the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Public Security.”




The Salvadoran Air Force (FAS, for its Spanish acronym) is now better prepared to save disaster victims and transport them to a safe place thanks to two rescue hoists and support equipment for emergency workers that the United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) has donated.

“The hoists are very valuable to us, because we will be able to help the population in any sort of condition or situation: dark, rainy or cloudy,” said Colonel José León Gómez of the FAS Center for Military Aeronautical Training (CIMA). “We can even use them to move heavy objects obstructing the path on a road or that have fallen on houses or schools.”

They're each worth about $450,000 total, and are fitted to UH-1H helicopters; they can rescue up to three people at once, and are capable of carrying up to 600 pounds. The hoists are designed to perform equally well at sea, in the mountains, in the rainforest or in the city. The donation also included a set of accessories for rescue workers to ensure the equipment is working at its best, including two stretchers to transport victims with multiple traumas and a jungle penetrator – also known as a forest penetrator, a wedge-shaped stand that can lift a victim onto a helicopter – to reach places that are inaccessible by conventional means.

These tools will all greatly contribute in the FAS's efforts to assist the civilian population in emergencies such as landslides, earthquakes, fires or floods through the Humanitarian Rescue Unit (UHR).

A team of Salvadoran Military engineers designed the necessary electrical connections for the equipment to work on the helicopters.

Training and collaboration


To maximize their efficiency, FAS service members trained with two groups of SOUTHCOM specialists who have experience working with the hoists and accessories, and who shared their knowledge about installation, maintenance, and operation. The first group demonstrated techniques to maintain and install the hoists; the second team, comprised of U.S. Air Force pilots and crew members, shared their experience using the equipment to conduct helicopter rescue missions.

Corporal Roberto Contreras, a FAS nurse and rescue worker who participated in the workshops, said the equipment and the knowledge he acquired will benefit the civilian population in El Salvador and throughout Central America.

“The FAS always stands ready to cooperate in any circumstances our nation might require,” Cpl. Contreras said. “And we maintain close ties to aid organizations to provide our teams’ support. Without a doubt, we are better prepared to do this now than we were before.”

The equipment has already helped the FAS prepare in its efforts to help he civilian population. For example, when on January 3 the Las Cascadas shopping center in the department of La Libertad was struck by a large fire, the FAS deployed UH-1H helicopters equipped with the new hoists to rescue victims if necessary.

“We were ready with the hoists to pull victims out of the fire, but fortunately we didn’t need to use them because everyone was able to get out in time,” Col. León said. “This showed us how important is it to have the latest equipment when rendering aid in national emergencies.”

Friendship and support


Aviation pilot Colonel Ángel María González, FAS Deputy Chief of Staff, said SOUTHCOM's donation is one more example of the strong ties of unity and brotherhood between the two nations’ Armed Forces. The donation “stands as a testament for future generations to the excellent and solid bilateral working and friendly relations between the FAS and the U.S. Military.”

Part of SOUTHCOM's outreach efforts with Central and South American and Caribbean partner nations includes cooperative strategies such as the Humanitarian Assistance Program (HAP), which works year round to respond to crises and contingencies in a three-step process of (1) building facilities, (2) training local authorities to properly manage disasters and (3) providing equipment to bolster each host nation’s own capacity to manage these disasters. HAP representatives work directly with partner nation government authorities to initially define their immediate needs and subsequently strengthen their ability to respond to humanitarian crises, natural and man-made disasters, and disease mitigation and prevention initiatives.

Colonel Robert Wagner, senior U.S. Defense official for El Salvador, demonstrated his respect for the Salvadoran civilian aid institutions when he delivered the hoists.

“This dedication also reflects the confidence and respect that we have for [institutions such as] Civil Protection, the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Public Security.”
This is an opportunity many people hoped for especially those with few economic resources. Thanks to the U. S. for this help.
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