Officers of the Puerto Rico National Guard visited the Honduras Emergency Operation Center (COPECO) facilities in Honduras May 14 to 18. The purpose of the visit was to share techniques and procedures to be applied during emergency events caused by natural disasters such as the most recent Hurricane Maria event which hit the island of Puerto Rico eight months ago.
As a result, the PRNG, COPECO and members of the Naval Force of that country strengthen their partnership ties and acquire new knowledge and techniques in the handling of emergencies for the benefit of both countries as part of the State Partnership Program.
Lt. Col. Roberto González, from the PRNG, detailed his technical and military experiences in the support process for government emergency management agencies, the utilization of resources, the importance of planning and the integration of work teams.
"Sharing and the exchanging of knowledge with our Honduran brothers further ensures the effectiveness of both countries during rescue operations and civil safety processes during an emergency. There is always an opportunity to improve and learn new techniques and procedures; this is part of the purpose of the State Partnership Program," said González.
Dr. Jorge Alberto Solís, assistant of the National Direction of Preparation and Response of COPECO, emphasized the importance of these relationships not only for the acquisition of new knowledge, but for the enrichment of the humanitarian and brotherhood sense that this entails.
"These relationships and this knowledge acquisition are vital for both parties because they reinforce our mutual support and brings new emergency handling skills for the benefit of our countries. Our purpose in this field is to protect lives and help in the rehabilitation of our communities," said Solís. This, while urging members of the Naval Forces to take advantage of these opportunities to acquire new knowledge and use it when necessary.
The Puerto Rico National Guard State Partnership Program is managed by Captain Noelia Roldán and it aims to join forces between its partner countries, the Republic of Honduras and the Dominican Republic, in the exchange of knowledge, skills and techniques. These are to be implemented during the event of an emergency thus helping to improve military interoperability between states and/or territories and the partner forces of other countries. This demonstrates the capacity and benefits of military support to civil authorities, as well as helping with the development of cooperative security among allied countries of the United States.
"Puerto Rico became part of the State Partnership Program 20 years ago and the relations with our partner countries keep growing stronger. Every aspect learned has been extremely beneficial for all at the time of handling emergencies such as forest fires and natural phenomena as well as in the implementation of military strategies," said Roldán.