Central American Firefighters: Prepared to Confront Regional Threats

first_imgBy Kay Valle/Diálogo May 15, 2019 Central American firefighters demonstrated their capabilities during a U.S. Southern Command-sponsored exercise carried out through Joint Task Force-Bravo (JTF-Bravo). Firefighters put their skills to the test at Soto Cano Air Base, headquarters of JTF-Bravo in Comayagua, Honduras, on April 8-12, during the exercise Central America Sharing Mutual Operational Knowledge and Experiences (CENTAM SMOKE). JTF-Bravo’s 612th Air Base Squadron Fire Department led the exercises that exposed participants to temperatures of more than 600 degrees Celsius. A total of 25 firefighters from Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras took part in the training. CENTAM SMOKE seeks to reinforce regional firefighters’ capabilities through a series of difficult tests that put them through new scenarios. The exercise is also aimed at standardizing firefighting skills to respond jointly to natural disasters. “We do CENTAM SMOKE to share experiences between firefighters in the firefighting profession. We hone our skills and continue building the bond between us and our partner nations,” U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant Troy Romans, 612th Air Base Squadron assistant chief of training, told Diálogo. “Standardizing the practices is important because it helps make a seamless integration. We learn the practices and the different techniques that we both [U.S. and partner nation firefighters] can provide to give a better service to the community.” Tests and competitions The training included security measure instructions, proper use of breathing equipment and personal protection, and the use of hoses prior to the start of live fire exercises. Together, firefighters engaged in different fire fighting scenarios, including wild fires, a new activity. “Last year for CENTAM18 was the first time we ever did the wildland,” said Master Sgt. Romans. “That was from some of the feedback we had gotten from some of the participants and something that we saw as a need because all of them have that threat.” The exercise also included a competition aimed at promoting a spirit of camaraderie and cooperation. Participants created different teams and faced tests, such as vehicle extrication and rescue (with a dummy), obstacle course, and sledgehammer competitions, among others. Participants also learned about the Bambi Bucket system to extinguish fires with helicopters. For his part, Master Sgt. Romans highlighted the importance of one exercise in particular—aircraft fires. “Most of these countries do not have an aircraft fire trainer unit, so most of them have never seen one,” said the officer. “Hopefully they can take back to their home units and spread the information and skills we’ve taught and used.” Mutual benefits For Alejandra Antillón, Incident Command System officer at the Guatemalan National Coordination System for Disaster Reduction (CONRED, in Spanish), responsible for firefighter and rescue teams in the country, the exercise was a success. Her participation, she added, was a great personal opportunity as the first woman from CONRED to join the exercise. “This is a great experience, and I’m very grateful for the opportunity. Now we know how [others] work in the region. It will make work easier when real situations arise,” Antillón told Diálogo. “Of the techniques, with vehicle extrication, I learned some positions different from what we use.” Oscar Humberto Pérez Gutiérrez, Rescue and Firefighting team supervisor at El Salvador International Airport, took part in the exercise for the second time. For Pérez, who also faced CENTAM SMOKE challenges in 2015, the 2019 edition offered new knowledge. “There are new techniques every day; we take them to our country and put them into practice,” Pérez told Diálogo. “As for wild fires, we learned to take wind into consideration, to work with the wind in our favor, and encircle the burning area.” Thankful for a second chance, Pérez agreed with Antillón on the importance of standardizing techniques. “Every country has its own way of working; we use different names for tools, so it’s important to standardize terminology,” he said. Learning was mutual, said U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sergeant Michael Ott, deputy fire chief, 612th Air Base Squadron. “They are showing us some really neat things too, because they are using very rudimentary and hands-on equipment versus our technically advanced hydraulic equipment, and they are showing us some fantastic ways to get into vehicles when we don’t have our high-tech tools.” The exercise started in 2005 as a quarterly training between JTF-Bravo firefighters and their Honduran counterparts. In 2010, the training extended to the region, with the participation of Guatemalan firefighters. Held biannually since 2014, more than 800 Central American firefighters have benefited from CENTAM SMOKE. “The greatest benefit for me is the experience of bringing all of these guys together,” Master Sgt. Romans concluded. “Bringing all these different countries together to do this is the greatest benefit, seeing these different cultures and how they react with emergency situations.”last_img read more

13 worst things to do with your tax refund

first_img 11SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr People typically don’t want to pay more taxes than they need to, but a tax refund implies just that. Withholding more money than necessary each paycheck means that an individual forgoes the opportunity to earn interest on that money elsewhere. Approximately 77 percent of taxpayers receive a tax refund, according to the IRS.Furthermore, some of the most popular ways to spend tax refund money can easily turn into some of the biggest tax refund mistakes. A recent GOBankingRates survey revealed several popular uses for tax refunds that can boost your financial well being, or work against it. Click through for 13 of the worst ways to spend your hard-earned tax refund check.1. Pay Down Credit Card DebtUsing a tax refund check to pay off debt is the most popular way to spend a tax refund, as 27 percent of respondents plan to do so, according to the GOBankingRates survey. “The goal in spending a tax refund should be long-term financial security,” said Tim Gagnon, a professor of accounting at Northeastern University’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business.“Just reducing [a credit] card balance to run it back up does no good,” he said. Eliminating a credit card completely, paying off a high-interest loan and avoiding another similar debt is, however, evidence that your spending habits are under control. continue reading »last_img read more

Four Hall Of Fame inductees set for Luxemburg Speedway Aug. 18

first_imgLUXEMBURG, Wis. – A trio of former Luxemburg Speedway promoters and a veteran driver still giving the youngsters a run for their money weekly will be inducted into Luxemburg Speedway’s Hall of Fame on Friday, Aug. 18.Tri Star Promotions members Kelly and Debbie Hafeman and Ralph Aschenbrenner along with Green Bay’s Jerry Muenster will be ushered into the track’s Hall of Fame.Tri Star Promotions promoted the weekly racing at Luxemburg Speedway for 13 seasons from 1989 through 2001. During their tenure the track boasted some of the highest weekly IMCA car counts nationwide.Kelly Hafeman himself is a former IMCA Modified champion. Muenster was the Luxemburg Speedway track champion in 1968. Despite being two full generations older than most of his on-track foes, the soon-to-be 76-year-old Muenster, the last holdover driver still competing from the track’s coupe days, still competes weekly at Luxemburg in an IMCA Modified.The stories of Tri Star Promotions, along with Jerry Muenster and his son Eddie’s racing careers will be featured in motorsports author Joe Verdegan’s third book “Life In The Past Lane – The Next Generation” which will be released Dec. 2 at Titletown Brewing in Green Bay.Luxemburg Speedway is located 15 minutes east of Green Bay at the Kewaunee County fairgrounds. The season opener at the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds will be Friday, April 21. Racing will get underway at 7 p.m.last_img read more

GAA may drop plans for hooter.

first_imgIt’s being reported that the clock hooter system maybe dropped.According to the Irish Independent central council will submit a motion to congress for the rule to be deleted.The move follows discussions at the weekend where reservations were expressed about practicalities of the proposed system.last_img

Rollers’ Lemponye Tshireletso sinks KCCA

first_imgTP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo host Entente Setif of Algeria on Saturday in the other fixture in the mini-league.Both fixtures in Group C and in Group D will also be staged Saturday with defending champions Wydad Casablanca of Morocco among the clubs in action.Record eight-time champions Ahly sorely missed two injured strikers, Moroccan Walid Azaro and Nigerian Junior Ajayi, as they failed to score against twice title-holders Esperance.It was the eighth draw in 17 matches between the teams across various CAF competitions with Ahly winning six and Esperance three.They clashed in the 2017 Champions League quarter-finals with Ahly winning the second leg near Tunis after being held in Alexandria.In Gaborone, Tshireletso timed his run perfectly on to a Joel Mogorosi pass and rounded goalkeeper Tom Ikapa to score Rollers’ winner on 36 minutes.Mogorosi wasted a good chance to double the lead almost immediately after the deadlock was broken when he fired wide from inside the six-yard box.A couple of stoppage-time saves from Rollers goalkeeper Keagile Kgosipula prevented the Ugandan outfit levelling in a clash of group phase debutants.Rollers shocked Al Merrikh of Sudan and Young Africans of Tanzania to become the first Botswana club to reach the last 16.Mouloudia had Zidane Mebarakou red-carded early in the second half and fell behind after 77 minutes when Hamid Ahaddad of Jadida scored his seventh Champions League goal this season.Amir Karaoui equalised with eight minutes remaining in Algiers for Mouloudia, who had scored 15 goals at home in two qualifiers.Jadida are playing in the group phase for the first time and hope to emulate Moroccan clubs Raja Casablanca, Wydad Casablanca and FAR Rabat by winning the elite African club competition.Share on: WhatsApp Township Rollers  ??  1 KCCA FC  ?? 0Al Ahly?? 0  ??ES Tunis 0Gabarone, Botswana |  INDEPENDENT & AFP | A 36th minute goal by Lemponye Tshireletso was the difference in a closely fought 2018 CAF Champions League group phase match between Uganda’s KCCA FC and Botswana flag bearers Township Rollers on Friday.Tshireletso latched onto a through-pass by Mogorosi, rounded KCCA goal keeper and slotted home to make it 1-0 for the hosts. The Botswana side held on for their Champions League Group state win.The opening Group A tie was a first Champions League Group game for both sides in their first ever clash. It is a tough group that also has North African giants Al Ahly of Egypt and Esperance of Tunisia.“I believe in this group ten points will be enough to qualify for the quarter finals, when and where you get those ten points does not matter; each match is three points, whether it is the first game or the last. But a winning start can give psychological strength, especially because we have two extremely important games coming up in the local league. So from that point of view, this match can determine how we do in both competitions,” Kavazovic said in an interview with rollersfc.com.Tweets about KCCABotswana minnows lead group after Ahly, Esperance drawAfrican giants Al Ahly of Egypt and Esperance of Tunisia drew Friday when the CAF Champions League group phase began, allowing minnows Township Rollers of Botswana to lead Group A.Ahly and Esperance fought a 0-0 draw in Alexandria while a Lemponye Tshireletso goal gave surprise qualifiers Rollers a 1-0 win over Kampala Capital City Authority of Uganda in Gaborone.Rollers top the Group A standings with three points, Ahly and Esperance have one each and KCCA are pointless.In another match, Mouloudia Alger of Algeria came from behind with 10 men to draw 1-1 at home against Difaa el Jadida of Morocco and share the Group B lead.last_img read more

England Golf launches strategy to ‘raise our game’

first_img22 Jul 2014 England Golf launches strategy to ‘raise our game’ England Golf will launch its Strategic Plan for 2014-17 this week with a call to all who care about golf to join together to ‘raise our game’ to build a bright future for the sport.The strategy will be launched at Moor Park Golf Club in Hertfordshire on Thursday, July 24. It sets out a vision of England Golf at the heart of a network of partners, taking action together to tackle the challenges facing the game.The strategy aims to create:–    More players and more club members–    Stronger clubs–    Winning golfers–    Outstanding championships for golfers of all abilities–    Improved image of the game–    Excellent governance“Golf is a big business with many opportunities,” said England Golf Chief Executive David Joy. “It contributes £3.4bn to the economy of England each year and it’s estimated that 2.8million people play golf at least once a year. It is enjoyed by men and women, boys and girls of all ages and abilities – it is truly a game for all, a game for life.“But the sport is also facing significant challenges, with declining numbers of golf club members and a drop in overall participation.“We ignore these trends at our peril and we all need to work together to raise our game and make the most of the opportunities which exist for golf.”The strategy sets out frameworks for action by clubs, counties and England Golf and is the result of extensive consultation. Graham Yates, the England Golf chairman, commented: “This is a new and exciting development for us and it has been shaped by the opinions and comments of hundreds of interested parties.“By working together in this way we will be better equipped to support golf clubs in these testing times, which is our principal concern. The strategy also means that we can focus more attention on aspects of our work which frequently go unnoticed, such as performance.”The strategy has already received widespread support.Jennie Price, Chief Executive of Sport England said: “This strategy is very encouraging and will help to focus attention on the importance of increasing participation in golf. We are very pleased to work with England Golf to realise these ambitions for the game.”Sandy Jones, the Chief Executive of the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) joined the board of England Golf last year. He commented: “The PGA welcomes and endorses the launch of the England Golf Strategic Plan.  It is vital for the game that we do all we can to welcome new players to the game, entice lapsed players to return and also encourage our existing golfers to play that little bit more.The England Golf Strategic Plan sets out a road map which will assist us all in achieving these targets.PGA Professionals throughout England already work hard to grow the game and provide encouragement to all who play or are considering taking the game up.  If across the industry we all work together with total commitment then I have no doubt that this strategic plan can be hugely successful”.Colin Mayes, chairman of the UK Golf Course Owners Association, added: “We’re delighted to work together to spread the message that golf is a game which is open to all and which has so much to offer the whole family. These are challenging times but clubs which listen to their members and visitors and act on their feedback will be able to take advantage of the opportunities which exist.“This strategy is a very positive way to create more golfers, more members and stronger, well-supported clubs.”To request a digital copy of the England Golf Strategic Plan 2014-17 please email [email protected]last_img read more

WSDOT Seeks Input for I-5 Between Tumwater, Nisqually

first_imgFacebook0Tweet0Pin0Submitted by Washington State Department of TransportationCommuters, residents and local businesses that rely on Interstate 5 between Tumwater and Nisqually are encouraged to offer ideas to help improve travel on this busy corridor.The Washington State Department of Transportation invites all users of the highway to participate in an online survey as part of a study to identify and develop strategies to help improve traffic flow.The survey will help WSDOT better understand how people use the corridor, their perceptions of transportation needs and which transportation issues matter most to them.“This study will help us determine the best strategies to address the needs of this critical corridor over the next 20 years,” said Dennis Engel, WSDOT multimodal planning manager.The survey is open until 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 27. The public will have additional opportunities to offer input about transportation needs along the corridor at public open houses planned next summer.The resulting report will summarize and rank transportation strategies that could include:Operational improvementsIntelligent Transportation Systems improvementsTransportation demand management – Using transportation alternatives for commute trip reduction like ridesharing, telework, public transportation, etc.Transit, freight, bicycle or pedestrian improvementsEnhancements to the highwayUse of other tools such as education and enforcementFeatured photo credit: Dr Attila Talaberlast_img read more

Mini-Dinos Found in Marine Sediments

first_imgSauropods were not all the lumbering giants we think of; they could be the size of a pet dog (images of Deeno in the Flintstones come to mind).  This came to light from recent discoveries announced in Germany (see BBC News and LiveScience) of adult sauropods smaller than human height, ranging five to 20 feet long    According to Nicholas Bakalar writing for National Geographic News, the unlikely place of their discovery was quite a surprise.  Co-author of the study Octavio Mateus (New University of Lisbon) described the puzzle of their location in a quarry loaded with marine sediments.  “This was not supposed to happen,” he said, “because all those layers were supposed to be marine layers containing only marine animals.  We didn’t expect to find dinosaurs, but we did.”To their shame, most of the news reports focused more on the story line than on the facts of the discovery.  They went on about how this species used to be large like the heavyweight sauropods, but found themselves trapped on an island of diminished resources so downsized into dwarfs.  Only National Geographic (not particularly partial to hard facts) mentioned the surprise of finding them buried among marine organisms.  Even then, Bakalar did not elaborate.  Yet this is an important detail of the discovery that should not have been understated.  These 11 individuals did not just go to the beach and wait for high tide to come in.  They were apparently caught off guard and overwhelmed suddenly by a watery catastrophe along with the sea creatures entombed with them.  If this were an isolated case, we might suspect a local misfortune, but is there a pattern emerging? (see 05/13/2006, 04/25/2006, 04/15/2005).(Visited 10 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Local app on global hot list

first_imgBlackberry users around the world have chosen a South African app as one of their favourites.(Image: Musa Mkalipi)Price Check is one of three finalists for the International Blackberry App of the Year award.(Image: Musa Mkalipi)GM at Price Check, Andre de Wet, believes that local mobile development is world class.(Image: Silicon Cape Initiative)MEDIA CONTACTS • Nicole Israel  Marketing manager, Price Check +27 21 468 9129 or +27 72 241 2505        RELATED ARTICLES • Telecoms boom for South Africa • Kenya takes banking to the poor • South Africa leads in mHealth • Ubuntu coming to phonesMusa MkalipiThe South African-designed smartphone app, Price Check, has got the nod from Blackberry users, who have nominated it for this year’s Blackberry achievement awards.An online price comparison app, Price Check is locally created and released. It has been nominated under the International Blackberry App of the Year category, which is open to businesses and entrepreneurs, as well as developers.The awards recognise innovation, bringing to the fore the latest technological ventures. According to Blackberry, they aim to recognise the contributions of creative thinkers from across the globe.“Being selected out of more than 100 000 Blackberry 10 apps worldwide is quite a milestone,” says Price Check GM, Andre De Wet, adding that as South Africans we can be pretty pleased about it. “It shows that what has been done locally on mobile is world class.”Price Check was developed in 2006 by Kevin Tucker, who saw the advantages of online shopping. With one click of a button, it enables the average person looking for the best or the most affordable goods to compare prices from various online stores. Be it for viewing or purchasing, retailers can be certain that their products are seen by thousands of online shoppers.It is available on Nokia, Android and Blackberry. Price Check has more than 860 000 visitors a month, 30-million products listed, 6 000 product categories and over 400 online shops. And with mobile technology penetrating deeper in Africa, the market for this and other apps is expanding.It was shortlisted alongside the Hoyts cinema app and the Cooklet app.The winner will receive a package prize consisting of one plane ticket to the Blackberry Live 2013 in Orlando, Florida, in the US; five Blackberry 10 smartphones; and a Blackberry service package that includes onsite training and certification aimed at improving the knowledge and skills of technical professionals working on the platform.Voting began on 28 March and closes on 15 April. Winners will be announced between 14 and 16 May.Africa becomes the big gun of technologyA technological revolution has taken place – Africa now has over 735-million mobile users, according to IBM, which in essence means that it has more users than the US as well as the EU. Technology levels continue to grow within the continent.Africa is fast becoming a leading light in ICT, with countries such as Kenya using GPS devices to map, record and prevent deforestation. Kenya is one of the most advanced countries on the continent in terms of mobile innovation and technology.One of its notable breakthroughs is M-Pesa, launched in 2007, which enables people to send and receive money with just the use of a mobile phone. M-Pesa had 620-million subscribers at the end of 2011 with 19-million in Kenya alone, says The East African, a weekly publication that focuses on economic and political issues in the region.Nigeria has also seen growth in this field. Over a decade ago there were about 100 000 phone lines which were mostly run by state-owned telecoms operators. Today more than 100-million mobile phones are being used, making it Africa’s largest telecoms market, according to statistics from the Nigerian Communications Commission.An even more astonishing development was the development of Africa’s first Android tablet by a young entrepreneur from Congo, Verone Mankou. The “Way C” tablet is roughly the same size as a Samsung Galaxy tablet, and comes with Wi-Fi connectivity and 4GB of internal memory.As new products and services are introduced, more and more Africans are keeping up with the times to ensure that they too are part of the revolution that is technology.last_img read more

South Africa’s Paralympians shine in London

first_img28 July 2015Sunday, 26 July, was the United Kingdom’s annual National Paralympic Day, on which the achievements of the best athletes from across the globe were celebrated.Participants in various sporting disciplines competed in front of an appreciative London crowd, evoking some of the enthusiasm created by the hugely successful Paralympic Games held in the British capital in 2012. But it was the action on the track that got the most vocal support.South African athletes excelled well in a number of events, showing much promise for future Paralympic glory. Hilton Langenhoven finished second in his T11/12 200m sprint, while Jonathan Ntutu won the second race of the category with a time of 22.57. The T37/100m sprint earned South Africa a double, with Charl du Toit and Fanie van der Merwe finishing first and second, respectively.Britain’s London 2012 superstars Georgina Hermitage and Sophie Hahn continue to be forces to be reckoned with in the sport, with both runners breaking their own world records on Sunday. Hermitage won the women’s 400m T37 race 0.22 seconds faster than her previous best. A new record for the women’s 100m T38 was set by Hahn in a time of 13.00.The next Paralympic Games will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2016.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more