Disaster response study, Accra, Ghana

Two Soldiers from the Department of Combat Medic Training engaged in four days of disaster response learning with about 20 uniformed and civilian members of the Ghanaian military Nov. 1-5.

Sgt. Maj. Tony Williams and Sgt. 1st Class Israel Salinas of the 232nd Medical Battalion, stationed at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, joined the exchange, which took place at the 37th Military Hospital in Accra.

The conceptual framework of military disaster response focused on response operations; principles of emergency management; planning, mitigation and recovery; command center operations; and the importance of surge capability, Williams said.

“The Ghanaian army soldiers and civilians were receptive and excited about the information being delivered,” he said.

“This was my unit’s first encounter with the Ghanaian Army,” Williams said. “There may be future encounters, but I do not know when. There are many similar approaches to handling tragedies, such as tsunamis, flooding or earthquake. We discussed those events in detail and came up with specific solution sets to handle those problems.”

The lessons learned, and the solutions studied, apply to all militaries around the world that work for the benefit of their societies, said Williams.

“Having dedicated emergency managers and leadership support are keys to an effective emergency management program. Coordination and planning for the unexpected are key to minimize a tragic situation,” he said.


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