The U.S. Coast Guard and Virginia Port Authority will host a five-day search and rescue forum starting Monday, focusing on topics including maritime search and rescue training, exercises and classroom discussion with numerous state and local law enforcement agency first responders in attendance.
The forum will include practical evolutions, two nighttime evolutions and a daylight search and rescue exercise.
Participants of the forum will include a range of regional fire, police and industry partners with the intent to train first responders in the basics of maritime search and rescue prosecution; including training for dispatching personnel to discuss 911 procedures during maritime events. Additionally, there will be vendors present throughout the week to provide resources and technical assistance to the participants.
"The Search and Rescue Forum provides valuable training and networking between responders and the local maritime community, increasing coordination, cooperation and the safety of first responders," said Bill Burkett, the director of the Maritime Incident Response Team for the Virginia Port Authority.
"This Search and Rescue Forum serves as an excellent opportunity for the first responders to work together and hone their communication and coordination before the busy summer recreational boating season. With so much of this community's employment and recreational activities revolving around the water, it is important that we provide our very best level of service to the citizens of Hampton Roads and I am proud to be a part of this tremendous event," said Capt. John Little, the commander of Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads.
This forum is made possible by the cooperation of the Coast Guard, Virginia Port Authority, as well as multiple maritime first responder agencies.