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22nd November 2020 21:32:07 Hours

Mock Demonstrations of Army Disaster Response Teams Impress Commander of the Army

The 'Exercise Lending Hand', elaborate mock demonstration, presented by course attendees in the Basic Disaster Response Course No-7 at the Sri Lanka Army Centre for Disaster Response Training (SLACDRT) this morning (22) in the general Kotmale reservoir area at the end of their 40 day-long disaster management training course, won praise from the day's Chief Guest, Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, Chief of Defence Staff, Commander of the Army and Head of the National Operation Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak.

Those passing out Army personnel (03 Officers &136 Other Ranks), now well qualified in Landslide Rescue Operations of international standards, Collapsed Structure Search and Rescue (CSSR) operations, Emergency Flood evacuation practices and several other interventions in times of national catastrophes or disasters, showcased their round the clock multi-skilled readiness through simulated worst-case scenarios in the presence of a large gathering of Senior Officers, including Major General Pradeep De Silva, Director General General Staff (DGGS), Major General Harendra Ranasinghe, Director General Operations (DG Ops), Major General Nishantha Herath, Director General Training, Major General Kumara Jayapathirana, Commander, Security Forces–Central(SF-C) , Major General Priyanka Fernando, General Officer Commanding 58 Division (GOC), Directors at Army HQ, Colonel Susantha Amarakoon, Commandant SLACDRT, Officers and Other Ranks.

Around the same time, the day's Chief Guest was invited to launch the SLACDRT website, (https://alt.army.lk/cdmt/) after a video documentary on the role and tasks of the SLACDRT and the 58 Division's area of responsibility was screened.

Their adoption of emergency preparations, swift responses, passage to affected locations, communication network, administrative practices, mobilization of respective workforce, selection of best strategic approaches, own safety measures, proper evaluation of the damage/crisis, use of technical aids, structural preventive measures, crowd-controlling, casualty evacuations, minimizing of own risks, provision of immediate first-aid assistance, resuscitation process, safety from external injuries, so on and so forth were among core modules that were visible during their mock demonstrations during the occasion. A brief explanation before respective demonstrations educated the day's visitors before each simulated operation.

After a while, the Army Chief shared a few thoughts with the course attendees, Instructors, Officers and Other Ranks who were present at the location of demonstrations. He praised them for their demonstrated skills and readiness for accomplishment of national commitments while simultaneously being the pioneers in nation-building tasks. "Anything that we do have some sort of risks and being aware of them is the most practical and important thing in all endeavors. You all very well demonstrated how meticulously you are prepared to face those challenges in our land. The knowledge and practical training given by the SLACDRT are of international standards, for which I should commend the trainers. This is a timely need," Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva remarked. He also touched on the question of control of COVID 19 pandemic in the country and tasks of the Army to ereadicate it.

On his arrival, Major General Pradeep De Silva, Director General General Staff (DGGS), Major General Harendra Ranasinghe, Director General Operations (DG Ops), Major General Nishantha Herath, Director General Training, Major General Kumara Jayapathirana, Commander, Security Forces–Central (SF-C), Major General Priyanka Fernando, General Officer Commanding 58 Division (GOC) received the Commander of the Army after a drive-pas saluted the visiting Commander of the Army.

SLACDRT in Kothmale taking stock of the need for emergency preparations has so far trained 77 Army Officers and 1221 other ranks for those tasks, in addition to training it has given to batches of the Navy, Air Force, STF, Policemen, university undergraduates, students following Masters degree, etc.

The Exercise largely focused on application of principles and theories of disaster responses, management on rescue operations, such as water, confined spaces, landslides, rope, etc and the Exercise setting has been developed under the guidelines given by the Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army under the close supervision of the General Officer Commanding, 58 Division and the Commandant, SLACDRT. It was designed to practice general search and rescue missions, water rescue missions and confined rescue missions and operational aspects and impart knowledge on UN standards for conduct of the camp management systems in the event of disasters, etc.

Over the years, the scope of disaster responses, management & rescue has evolved as one of the most consistent and comprehensive training exercises which transfers and shares invaluable military experiences on knowledge in disaster response and humanitarian assistance for the benefit of future military aspirants in the next generation. The SLACDRT Commandant was also associated with the Exercise in Kotmale area.

A memento was also presented to the Commander of the Army to symbolize the appreciation of the SLACDRT.