Georgia first responders train personnel overseas in Republic of Georgia

Walker County Fire Rescue personnel recall experience overseas

WALKER COUNTY, Georgia (WDEF) — From the state of Georgia to the Republic of Georgia and back …

Some members of the Walker County Fire Rescue team recently came back home from a training exercise with those who serve and protect their families on the other side of the world.

A pair of Walker County first responders said that their time in the country of Georgia was invaluable not just for them, but for those they helped train overseas.

In their relationship with the country of Georgia, the U.S. State Department helps train and equip their soldiers and emergency service personnel.

In late August, some of Walker County Fire Rescue’s best were called in to help train Georgians on the other side of the world.

“When they were looking in training in high angle or mountain rescue [and] at the resources in the state of Georgia, [they] saw Walker County and the rescues we performed, our own cave & cliff team,” said Walker Co. Fire Rescue Assistant Chief Eric Ashburn.

Ashburn says local responders were brought in to lead the high-angle training with the Georgians — the first time said training was conducted with their personnel.

He says the surrounding Caucasus Mountains provided a great environment for passing on what they know.

“What we taught specifically was a method of mainly gaining access from the top in situations where, like, a vehicle would go off the roadway or someone would fall,” Ashburn said. “They would arrive, repel a rescuer down to the victim, package that victim up, then send systems over to be able to haul them back up and get them to safety.”

While Ashburn and his men gifted their knowledge to their new friends overseas, they in turn were gifted with their culture.

“As we met the people there, you could see a strong heritage and tradition that they truly appreciated,” Ashburn said. “But [they] were very welcoming, wanted us there, wanted what we had to bring and were really just awesome people.”

“It was a very awesome experience — some of the nicest people you’d ever want to meet, some of the greatest food I’ve ever had … beautiful country,” said Walker Co. Cave & Cliff Rescue Specialist Robert Anderson. “I can’t wait to go back. It was fantastic.”

Ashburn, too, says he is also excited to return overseas to Georgia.

The assistant chief says if plans continue working the way they currently are, Walker County could be sending personnel back to provide more training as early as June 2023.

Categories: Featured, Local News, Walker County