Tue, Oct 23, 2007 - Page 4 News List

Emergency response team leaders share expertise

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

The 2007 International Workshop on Emergency Response and Rescue opened yesterday in Taipei for two days of discussions to share experiences on emergency relief and disaster management and to step up international cooperation in preparation for future operations.

The two-day confab, held at the National Rescue Command Center, will feature seven lectures, including three given yesterday by guest speakers from Canada.

Timothy Armstrong, leader of the Vancouver Urban Search and Rescue Team, explained the organization and training of his team, which rescued 119 flood victims in five days of rescue efforts in early September 2005 in areas around New Orleans, Louisiana, which were devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

Stephen Svensson discussed his experience in New Orleans as a member of Vancouver's Urban Search and Rescue team, while Murray Day, director of the Emergency Management Division of the Justice Institute of British Columbia, talked about Canada's emergency response management system.

Minister of the Interior Lee Yi-yang (李逸洋) awarded citations to 25 people for their roles in search and rescue operations during the past year.

Among them was Chen Hou-chuan (陳厚全), an orthopedist at Taichung Hospital and medical team leader of Taiwan International Health Action.

Lee cited statistics showing that from 2002 until the end of last month, the National Rescue Command Center conducted 2,414 operations in response to emergency situations around Taiwan and helped 11,553 people in distress.

He said since the ministry's National Fire Agency had been given the responsibility of managing the National Rescue Command Center, the center's air rescue abilities had increased considerably, with the number of people rescued by helicopter increasing by an average of 86 percent per month.

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