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News | Sept. 5, 2019

Civil Affairs Team Partners with Panama Agencies

By Maj. Cesar H. Santiago

Strengthening partnerships and improving critical skills with over ten government and civilian sector agencies were focus areas during a week-long first aid seminar held at Servicio Nacional de Fronteras (SENAFRONT), Batallon Occidental, Provincia de Chiriquí, Panama from Aug. 26 – 30, 2019.

Civil Affairs team members deployed in support of Special Operations Command South joined efforts with personnel from SENAFRONT, Policia Nacional de Panama (PNP), Servicio Aeronaval, Enemérito Cuerpo de Bomberos, Sección de Servicio de Atencion Medica de Emergencias y Rescate, Sistema Nacional de Protección Civil, Servicio Nacional De Migración, Ministerio de Salud, Departamento de Ambiente y Resilencia, Sistema Nacional de Proteccion Civil, and Universidad Autonoma de Chiriqui during a seminar aimed at sharing first aid best practices with the purpose of enhancing skills and knowledge among Panamanian safety and security agencies.

The event officially kicked-off with welcome remarks by Juan Carlos Munoz, Governor of Provincia de Chiriquí; Comisionado Rolando Brees, Jefe del Batallon Occidental, SENAFRONT; U.S. Army Col. Steven Winkleman, Security Cooperation Officer, United States Embassy, Panama; Sub-Comisionado Luis Miranda, Jefe Cuarta Zona PNP; Coronel Gonzalo Chang Gil, Comandante Primer Jefe; Enemerito Cuerpo de Bomberos Zona Regional Chiriqui, Panama.

Training participants were exposed to first aid techniques and best practices to respond to and care for injured personnel during emergency situations.

“There is a need for this training,” said Brees.” “The knowledge and skills obtained through this course increases the readiness of our security institutions. It will be employed by members of our community, ourselves and our partners.”

The participation of multiple agencies served not only for training alongside partner agencies, but to explore opportunities for cooperation, alignment, and support to each other for the common purpose of serving, preventing, protecting, and responding in a synchronized approach.

“The words cooperate and serve represent what you do daily,” said Winkleman. “Training is part of your ability to do your job. You serve the people daily and this is very important for the safety and security of Panama and the region.”

The training was initiated with an overview of emergency first response procedures encompassing adult, child, and infant cardiopulmonary resuscitation, first aid skills, and use and employment of Automatic External Defibrillator equipment. Steps taken to ensure proper care for injured personnel were taught including treatment of severe wounds and bleeding, hypothermia prevention, casualty evaluation, patient treatment and movement, and medical equipment and transportation familiarization.

Personnel from the Cuerpo de Bomberos stressed the importance of collaboration and basic first aid education and time sensitive actions while rendering assistance to a casualty.

“The training allows us to foster good relations with the United States personnel and thus be able to establish strategic alliances of exchange and cooperation between both nations,” said Aliethy Rodriguez, paramedic assigned to Cuerpo de Bomberos, Sección de Servicio de Atención Médica. “It seeks to encourage collaboration and teamwork between security, emergency, and civilian institutions, as well as exchange of training, knowledge, skills and competencies necessary to provide timely assistance.”

The success of the seminar was attributed to the knowledge and expertise shared among instructors and students and the collaboration of the participating agencies during the coordination and planning phase for the seminar.

“It was a critical part of the overall success because they were able to open communications between them for the first time in order to coordinate participation, logistics and equipment requirements to support the training,” said. U.S. Army, SFC Luis Alvarez, Civil Affairs Noncommissioned Officer. “This training coordination and execution stressed the importance of involving the partner nation during the coordination and planning process and how the event contributes to long-term benefits.”

Civil Affairs engagements continue to be an opportunity to work beside, with, and through Panamanian partners strengthening partnerships and cooperation in the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility.