The Malta Independent 21 April 2019, Sunday

Over 70 volunteer rescuers train for real-life disaster scenarios

Sunday, 10 February 2019, 13:03 Last update: about 3 months ago

SIMULEX19 – a 24-hour rescue simulation organized by the Emergency Fire and Rescue Unit (EFRU) was concluded successfully yesterday morning.

EFRU volunteers worked for weeks in preparation for this simulation, which saw the participation of 70 volunteer rescuers from 14 different European volunteer civil protection teams. The exercise simulated an earthquake in the Maltese islands, with Maltese and foreign rescuers working together to rescue victims from different locations.  By the end of the exercise, 25 victims had been identified and rescued successfully using Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) and rope rescue techniques. 

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All participating teams, hailing from Malta, Italy, Portugal, UK, Greece, Cyprus, Hungary and France are members of EVOLSAR – the European Association of Civil Protection Volunteer Teams – of which EFRU is a founder member. The association aims to have a European group of volunteer teams that train together in various civil protection disciplines, thus being able to deploy as a single group to assist fellow members of the organisation in the event of a major disaster as necessary.

The association is currently made up of fifteen member teams from ten different countries. In spite of speaking different languages, the volunteer rescuers are working together, combining their efforts in effective teamwork to refine their skills to be able to assist whenever and wherever they are needed. Through this simulation exercise in Malta, the member teams will be able to support the Maltese authorities in case of a local disaster. 

SIMULEX19 is one of the activities of a project funded by the Malta Community Chest Fund Foundation (MCCFF), focusing on volunteer rescue team preparedness in emergency response. The teams made use of rapid deployment tents for incident command which also doubled up as sleeping and mess quarters, increasing the efficiency of local response teams. At the end of the exercise, certificates were handed to all participants by Minister for Home Affairs and National Security Michael Farrugia. 

The EFRU thanked the Malta Community Chest Fund Foundation (MCCFF), Malta Industrial Parks (MIP), the Siġġiewi Local Council and Go&Fun for their support in making this project possible.

 

 

Photos: Alenka Falzon

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