Water Rescue Training with the Haitian Red Cross Society (HRCS), September 2016.
Water Rescue Training with the Haitian Red Cross Society (HRCS), September 2016.
Water Rescue Training with the Haitian Red Cross Society (HRCS), September 2016.
Water Rescue Training with the Haitian Red Cross Society (HRCS), September 2016.
Participants from the Haitian Red Cross Society (HRCS) participate in practical water rescue exercis
Participants from the Haitian Red Cross Society (HRCS) participate in practical water rescue exercises.
Participants from the Haitian Red Cross Society (HRCS) participate in practical water rescue exercis
Participants from the Haitian Red Cross Society (HRCS) participate in practical water rescue exercises.
Participants from the Dominican Red Cross (DRC) participate in practical water rescue exercises.
Participants from the Dominican Red Cross (DRC) participate in practical water rescue exercises.
Participants from the Dominican Red Cross (DRC) participate in practical water rescue exercises.
Participants from the Dominican Red Cross (DRC) participate in practical water rescue exercises.

In a country surrounded by the Caribbean Sea, the Cuban Red Cross understands the importance of being prepared for water emergencies, especially as a first responder. Through the CERA (Capacity Building for Emergency Response) Initiative, Luís Calero Rodríguez, a Cuban Red Cross expert in water rescue, has led trainings for two sister island nations: Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

According to CERA’s coordinator in the Dominican Republic, Joe Lugo, the project allowed the Dominican Red Cross to organize its first national lifeguard training which included participants from all of the country’s coastal branches. In Haiti, trained volunteers had the opportunity to gain more advanced skills through practical sessions in the ocean. Lifesaving brigades from both National Societies received necessary lifesaving equipment such as diving equipment, uniforms, and megaphones.

As hurricane season begins in the Caribbean, these skills will be even more important. According to Garibaldy Santiague, CERA Haiti coordinator, when natural disasters like hurricanes strike, the water rescue brigade is among the first to respond. As Dominican Red Cross participant Harry Pegero expressed, “We have learned many new techniques and gained an international certification. I know that I could use my skills anywhere in the world, if necessary, to save a life.”

With support from the Government of Canada, the Canadian Red Cross helps strengthen the capacity of partner National Societies through the CERA Initiative.