x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Special police team to tackle water emergencies

Police are forming a special squad to handle emergenices involving floods and other water-related problems.

Abu Dhabi // Police are forming a special squad to handle emergenices involving floods and other water-related problems. "We are working on preparing a number of Emirati individuals to create a team specialised in rescue operations in water, like falling in a well, and other accidents that require specific training," said Captain Rashid al Hawai, the manager of the police's water bodies search and rescue department.

The move was prompted by floods and heavy rain over the past year. Col Mohammed al Naimi, the head of the Abu Dhabi Emergency and Public Safety Department, said the plan was still in its infancy. Training will start once it was known how many people the squad will need. Col al Naimi said the UAE Urban Search and Rescue team, which he heads, handles different types of accidents such as building collapses and rescue operations in water, but that there is a need for a separate team.

He noted that most of the new development projects in Abu Dhabi were near water. "The development projects will include a lot of water channels and will be used by yachts and boats which may very well be subject to accidents," said Col al Naimi. Capt al Hawai said his department would train the team in swimming, diving, maritime safety and firefighting. They will also learn how to use machinery that cuts through metal underwater, radar and GPS technology, and how to set up supply lines from the surface.

The training could be used by the officers to free people trapped in submerged cars and recover bodies, for instance. The team will be part of a larger search and rescue division that also includes land rescue operations and fire fighting. Last year, the Emergency and Public Safety Department trained 1,522 people. Its trainers are accredited by the United Nations International Search and Rescue Advisory Group.

"The training process is the basis of improving work. Training is continuous and does not stop at a particular level," said Col al Naimi. @Email:kshaheen@thenational.ae hhassan@thenational.ae