The FEMA Center for Domestic Preparedness recently hosted Colin Pinnington of the United Kingdom's National Ambulance Resilience Unit, which provides continued education and shares best practices with the U.K.'s Hazardous Area Response Teams.
The CDP and NARU began sponsoring staff exchanges in late 2009. The first HART team member attended CDP in January 2012.
"Why keep best practices to yourself," Pinnington, a NARU senior instructor supervisor, said. "We've all had our own types of disasters or terrorist-related events and lessons learned need to be shared. It can only make our training better, especially if an incident transposes itself between our countries."
NARU Head of Education Dave Bull said the exchange is a two-way experience.
"The NARU Education Center is always looking at ways we could improve our training and operating procedures," Bull said. "The value in conducting an exchange is of continued benefit and in this brief visit we have found areas that can be developed to meet our needs. After visiting here in 2012 I have seen ideas from then be implemented and used in training. This partnership has led to significant sharing of experience between the U.S. and U.K., and potentially improves both of our responses to incidents."
Pinnington praised CDP's "top-notch facilities."
"The detail really does make a difference to training scenarios and the training environment," Pinnington said. "The visit was very much worth it. The CDP has great trainers who are very passionate."
CDP Assistant Director for Training Delivery Chuck Medley said NARU takes training and emergency services seriously, and the partnership has been beneficial for both sides.
"We both have a goal of preparedness, and we train to meet that goal," Medley said. "I'm excited about moving forward, learning more and sharing information that can only make us all better at what we do-prepare and respond."