The European Association of Civil Protection Volunteer Teams (EVOLSAR) held an event in Malta this month, marking the onset of a multinational EU project under the umbrella of ERASMUS+.
Malta's local team, the Emergency Fire and Rescue Unit (EFRU), is leading the two year project. 'Synergising European Volunteer Rescue Teams' is an incentive which foresees volunteering rescue teams from across Europe working together to fine-tune rescue techniques and practices. This project is the first of its kind.
This project's first training activity saw four full days of rescue operations in simulated scenarios, round-table discussions and extra-curricular activities,
The rescue operations varied not only in type and methods, but also in terms of locations, terrain and the contextual frameworks in which they were carried out. The methods and techniques ranged from high-angle rescue to confined space and urban search and rescue, all within varying surroundings: from cliff faces to undulating clay dunes and from the bouldering shores to underground tunnels and the built-up environment.
Rescuers from different volunteering teams and nationalities worked in multinational groups.
The EFRU said that training was taken seriously and that simulated rescues are hardly a simulation to the rescuers themselves. "Training is treated with utmost respect and each scenario is professionally handled, so that when reality hits these rescuers can do what they do best: work together to save lives".
"Needless to say, this project would not have been in the least conceivable without the support of external entities that have chosen to be part of this phenomenon. Particularly in relation to the Erasmus+ funding, MEUSAC and EUPA have provided invaluable assistance in the application process and the project implementation and management process respectively".
"A few years ago, EVOLSAR was only EFRU's far-fetched dream. Today, it is very much alive and kicking, living up to the good name that it has made since inception and standing as a testimony to the fact that where there is good will, there is indeed a way".