A team of Kansas National Guardsmen is in the Republic of Armenia to train Armenian firefighters in first aid, life-saving techniques, and hazardous material awareness, recognition and response.
The Kansas Guardsmen are joined by soldiers from the United Kingdom’s Royal Army Medical Corps, and members of the British Army’s 6th Rifles Battalion. Together, they will conduct training through July 28 at six fire rescue stations across the Shirak Marz.
This military-to-humanitarian outreach event is the first-of-its-kind in the 14-year partnership between Armenia and the Kansas National Guard, part of the National Guard Bureau’s State Partnership Program.
“This exchange is the continuation of our strong and vibrant relationship between the Kansas National Guard and Armenia,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Donald Harper, a Kansas National Guard Airman who serves as the bilateral affairs officer for the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan. “The Armenians, British Medics and CBRN soldiers, and Kansas Guardsmen all stand to benefit from this peer-to-peer exchange of experience.”
Harper said the primary goals of this exchange are to strengthen relationships between the Ministry of Emergency Situations and fire rescue stations. It will also improve Armenian firefighters’ capabilities to provide basic first-aid and improve their responses to any hazardous material incidents.
The exchange will help the fire departments develop their medical skills, a responsibility recently assigned to them by the Ministry. These added capabilities will complement other local and national first responder agencies. Because the fire rescue stations are assuming new responsibilities, the Kansas National Guard is also providing each station with a package of basic medical and first aid supplies.
This exchange provides a chance for the Kansas Guardsmen and RAMC soldiers to share their knowledge, broaden their worldview, and improve their team-building, instruction and presentation skills.
The multi-national training exchange will culminate with a capstone exercise on July 28 which will showcase the skills Armenian firefighters learned during the 10 days.