Today, we’d like to update you on our work helping a democracy stand tall in the face of relentless threats against its way of life.
That democracy is Taiwan, a close friend of the United States in the Asia-Pacific. The Taiwanese people believe that the best way to prevent a crisis is to demonstrate preparedness. We agree. To help Taiwan demonstrate it is prepared to address any natural disaster or potential conflict, Spirit of America has helped organizations in Taiwan train over 8,000 civilians in crisis response. By supporting our Taiwanese partners, we seek to help them preserve peace, security, and Taiwan’s democratic way of life.
Over the last year, we have been working with partners in Taiwan, including the civil society organization Forward Alliance and the National Fire Agency, to pilot a new Taiwan Community Emergency Response Team (T-CERT) program of civilians trained in emergency casualty care, search and rescue, communications, and navigation skills.
From September 17-21, we joined our partners and 200 volunteers to publicly launch T-CERT as part of Taiwan’s National Disaster Prevention Day exercises. With the world watching, the all-volunteer teams demonstrated their new capabilities to international observers and high-level attendees including Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, who thanked Spirit of America for its support to Taiwan.
As we prepare to ramp up our support over the next few months, we’d like to brief you on how Spirit of America is helping the US and our Taiwanese partners promote peace in the Asia-Pacific region in the following ways:
- Building a citizen-led crisis response network: Spirit of America is helping independent Taiwanese organizations build a network of people trained in crisis response skills including emergency casualty care, search and rescue, communications, and navigation. Collectively, our partners seek to train 50,000 people in the next three years.
- Strengthening Taiwan’s first responder capabilities: Forward Alliance and Spirit of America are working directly with the National Fire Agency to expand the new T-CERT program for national implementation in 2024. The program is inspired by the US Federal Emergency Management Agency’s CERT program — and recent European civil response experience — to directly support and supplement Taiwanese first responders in the event of a crisis. Additionally, we will continue to work with the fire and police units to expand their tactical emergency casualty care program with the goal of bringing hostile environment and trauma medical training to over 15,000 first responders.
- Equipping citizens with crisis response information: Spirit of America has partnered with the Taiwanese organization Watchout to produce a civil defense guide in a popular comic book format, providing citizens information on crisis preparedness, basic first aid skills, and managing the psychological impact of a crisis or disaster. Watchout will soon release an updated version, a new website, and podcast series.
This is a critical time for Taiwan and its allies to demonstrate a commitment to democracy. Over the next few months, we will update you on these initiatives, as well as other ways Spirit of America is helping Taiwan prevent a crisis.
With your support, we can help Taiwan’s democracy stand tall.