Firefighters to Chile
***OUR THANKS TO MABAS Division 2!! NOW WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT TO FINISH OUR MISSION!! ***
MABAS Division 2 is donating life saving equipment, equipment that no longer meets U.S. standards, to help the country of Chile save lives. We need your support to send 15 firefighters to Chile to train first responders on how to use this important, much-needed, life-saving equipment.
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Recently, Chile made international news with the mine disaster. The world summoned all necessary equipment and talent, lending Chileans a much needed hand in the rescue of their miners. What became evident was the lack of resources available to the average firefighter in Chile.
In an effort to equip and train Chilean firefighters, Pastor Fuentes, Elgin Police Chaplain, has been in contact with his home town of Rancagua, Chile. Pastor Fuentes communicated the need for equipment in his home town. The Elgin Police Department donated law enforcement equipment including ballistic vests and bicycles. M.A.B.A.S. Division 2, including The Elgin, South Elgin, Hampshire, and Pingree Grove Fire Departments, donated much needed firefighting and rescue equipment. This equipment does not meet NFPA standards for firefighters in the US, but far exceeds what Chilean firefighters have. Mario Munoz, the Training Officer for Rancagua Fire Department, identified the training needs based on the type of equipment we are sending them and their general need for instruction.
Ten to fifteen Elgin firefighters have undertaken a humanitarian mission to Rancagua, Chile, to equip and train their firefighters. Although The City of Elgin is endorsing this trip, these Elgin Firefighters will be funding this trip on their own with the help of private donations.
Some of the equipment donated includes the following:
• They will be receiving a Thermal Imaging Camera as part of our shipment. This tool is entirely new to their country and will require training to use properly. This tool is invaluable when doing a search for victims in either a fire scenario or after an earthquake. It is also instrumental in identifying hot spots after a fire has been initially knocked down.
• They will be receiving Vetters Bags as part of our shipment. This tool is used to lift objects weighing thousands of pounds off of trapped victims. This tool would be very useful to them after an earthquake, but requires training.
• They will be receiving extrication equipment commonly referred to as “Jaws of Life” and hydraulic cutters in our shipment. In addition to being used to extricate victims from crushed vehicles, these tools can be used to lift and cut victims free after an earthquake.
• Many of the other items being shipped are of a technical nature such as foam eductors and will require training to use properly.
• Mr. Munoz requested additional training for his men in basic firefighting. Specifically he asked for tactics to deal with the fact that there are really no building codes in his city. Example: Houses are allowed to be built within inches of an adjacent structure. This means that common house fires often spread to adjacent buildings causing conflagrations. We would be providing instruction in how to deal with a fire under these conditions.
Our staff is currently amending training outlines to deal with the unusual circumstances that this training mission presents. I have been told, by Mr. Munoz, that we will be training about 70 firefighters during our one week stay in his city.
This humanitarian effort is endorsed by Elgin Association of Firefighters Local 439, The Elgin Fire Department, Senator Noland and Representative Keith Farnham.
The International United Way is requesting tickets on our behalf but this is certainly not a guarantee. We need money for tickets, room and board and equipment. We have a target goal of $17,000. All donations will be to a 501-C3 and we will be happy to provide the tax number for you.
Donations can be made online by clicking on the donate button (See our Facebook Page "Firefighters to Chile")or you can send checks to the Elgin City Employees Credit Union. Make check payable to Firefighters to Chile. Their address is: 1151 Lillian St., Elgin IL. 60123