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In early December, Firefighters Crossing Borders (FFCB) will be holding two separate programs in Bahia de Banderas to train both lifeguards and firefighters. Sayulita will serve as one of the sites that will host the lifeguard trainings, in addition to Puerto Vallarta, and as the only location where the firefighter training will occur.
The lifeguard (guardavida) training will consist of four half days designed to train auxiliary lifeguards for the beaches of Bahía de Banderas in basic surf rescue techniques. These auxiliary lifeguards will work with Civil Protection's paid lifeguards and together will provide better safety on the beaches of Punta Mita, Bucerias, and Sayulita. The lifeguard training will take place at a number of locations. The first day (Dec 1) and last day (Dec 4) will be held in Sayulita. The final day of training will involve the application of the learned rescue skills in the open water in Sayulita’s north beach. Approximately 25-30 trainees are expected to attend.
The second training program is for firefighters from Bahía de Banderas and Puerto Vallarta, and will provide an opportunity to develop strong team and technical skills. All of this training will take place in Sayulita on December 3rd and 4th. FFCB instructors will be running a number of life-like emergency incident scenarios, including a car accident with a trapped victim, a vertical rope rescue, a fire with a missing person, and a Hazmat incident with a chemical leak, where local firefighters will practice and improve their firefighting and rescue skills.
This program will take place at and around the main park in Sayulita. Organizers are working on providing an observation area for the public. Twelve FFCB Instructors are coming from the US and Canada to work with the local firefighters and lifeguards. This one day program will be repeated twice. Bahia de Banderas and Puerto Vallarta fire departments will each send 20 different firefighters each day, resulting in a daily class size of 40, and providing an overall training opportunity for 80 firefighters. Each day, the 40 firefighters will be divided into fire department specific crews of one officer and four firefighters which will move through the different scenarios.
Brian Singleton, the coordinator of these events, and a retired Assistant Fire Chief hailing from Vancouver Canada, stressed that, “FFCB is committed to assisting firefighters in Bahia de Banderas, Puerto Vallarta, and the region by providing good US surplus equipment, consulting and training from leading fire service experts”.