FIRE ACADEMY HELPS CABO
Contact: Paul Houdeshell, Oxnard College Fire Technology and Fire Academy Instructor, (805) 384-8110
As a school bus stretched out on one of the most dangerous highways of Cabo San Lucas in Baja California, Oxnard College Fire Technology and Fire Academy Instructor J. Paul Houdeshell watched as dozens of firefighters and paramedics tended to the injured victims, many of whom were readied for emergency transport to local hospitals.
“It was very realistic,” recalled Houdeshell of the January 6, 2007 emergency training exercise, which featured young Mexican fire cadets — future “bomberos” from the Cabo San Lucas Fire Department — assuming the roles of crash victims. Staging the drill on the dangerous highway between the popular tourist mecca and San Jose Del Cabo, home of the Cabo San Lucas Airport, drew hundreds of onlookers as local and regional newspapers joined Azteca Mexican Television in giving headline coverage to the event.
Houdeshell, who retired as assistant chief after 33 years with the Federal Fire Department, participated in the training demonstration as part of the Academy’s extended outreach program. After two days of classroom theory and instruction for firefighters and paramedics from Cabo San Lucas and San Jose Del Cabo, the third day was the training scenario, from the initial steps of setting up an incident command system to the firefighters stabilizing the donated school bus, retrieving victims and performing triage and transport drills. Houdeshell, who paid his own expenses to take part in the training, feels that the exercise reinforced the need for multi-agencies to “work together.”
“What they lack in equipment, they more than make up in training and professionalism,” he said.
Oxnard College, 4000 South Rose Ave. Oxnard, CA 93033 (805) 986 - 5800