First responder training shows positive results in Bangladesh

Staff Sergeant Christopher Liu (far left), who serves as a civil-military support element medical sergeant for Embassy Dhaka’s U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Augmentation Team, demonstrates the proper application of a tourniquet during the Medical First Responder Seminar, Jan. 5, 2020. Photo by Mary Rosary Buchanan
Staff Sergeant Christopher Liu (far left), who serves as a civil-military support element medical sergeant for Embassy Dhaka’s U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Augmentation Team, demonstrates the proper application of a tourniquet during the Medical First Responder Seminar, Jan. 5, 2020. Photo by Mary Rosary Buchanan

By John Sanders and Kevin Dolliver

Since 2014, the Department of State’s Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) has funded the Embassy Dhaka Medical First Responder Seminar (MFRS), a training program for Bangladeshi police, coast guard, fire service and civil defense, and border guards. The Embassy’s Civil-Military Support Element (CMSE)—part of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Augmentation Team, in conjunction with the Department of Justice’s International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP)—conducts the four-day course, delivering hands-on first responder training. Each MFRS participant is provided with a medical first aid responder kit stocked with locally procured equipment that will help strengthen Bangladeshi agencies’ capacities when responding to emergency and crisis situations.  

Just two days after completing the course, an on-duty highway patrolman successfully utilized his MFRS training when responding to a vehicle accident, Nov. 29, 2019. The patrolman applied what he learned during the course to provide on-scene first aid. He improvised with on-hand materials to devise a splint for an injured citizen’s arm using a gamcha (a local garment) and two pieces of wood to stabilize the limb before transporting the citizen to a nearby hospital. Successful responses, like this situation, increase public confidence in local law enforcement and reinforce the value of such practical U.S. programs.   

In 2019, CMSE and ICITAP conducted eight MFRS training seminars in four of Bangladesh’s eight administrative divisions for more than 200 first responders. Since the program’s initiation in 2014, more than 600 police officers alone have participated in the seminar. Three individuals have gone on to complete the ICITAP Instructor Development Course and are now serving as instructors in MFRS seminars for other first responders. CMSE and ICITAP are actively working to certify more trainers and expand the train-the-trainer initiative to increase the Bangladesh police force’s capacity to train and equip its personnel and to continue to provide practical value. 

John Sanders is a team sergeant in the Civil-Military Support Element with the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Augmentation Team at Embassy Dhaka. Kevin Dolliver is the information officer in the Public Affairs Section at Embassy Dhaka.