Back To Base

December 4, 2012 in General

Since the Emergency Fire and Rescue Unit (E.F.R.U.) was set up, back in 2006, the organization saw its membership increase threefold.

In the beginning, E.F.R.U. used to meet inside a garage belonging to one of the founding members. However, this was no longer adequate as the number of members increased and the equipment and rescue vehicles started to take up more and more space. There were several attempts by the E.F.R.U. committee to acquire a building from the government but all were unsuccessful.

That is, until around July 2011, when the Civil Protection Department (CPD) assigned E.F.R.U. the task of taking care of a building next to the department’s Humanitarian Aid warehouse in Marsa – in return E.F.R.U. were allowed to use this building as the unit’s headquarters (HQ). Eventually, EFRU became a very important asset for the CPD in offering Humanitarian Aid assistance during the Libya Crises.

Ready to Respond
The current HQ have made a huge difference to the organization in terms of capability and efficiency. There is a garage for rescue vehicles and an equipment store – it is essential to have such things well organized to be able to respond quickly in an emergency call out! Besides, adequate protection for vehicles and equipment is also very important.
There are also a number of bedrooms, a kitchen, showers and clothes washing facilities available. These facilities are mostly used whenever E.F.R.U. is put on standby by the Civil Protection Department over a number of days, or when a planned event will start very early so the volunteers spend the eve at the HQ. A common area permits the members to relax and socialise during rest periods.

Day to Day Running of the Organisation
As with any reputable organisation, E.F.R.U. has a good administrative set up – the HQ therefore have an office and board room for Executive Committee meetings as well as for Advisory Board meetings, facilitating the daily running of the unit. During major events, the board room may also double up as a situation room, where the Commanding Officer, together with the Second in Command and Section Leaders, may keep up to date with the latest information and take appropriate decisions on how to proceed.


Training

The nature of work that E.F.R.U. does requires all members to be well trained and to practice frequently the skills and techniques required in the various rescue disciplines. In the HQ at Marsa, volunteers have the facility to practice rope rescue, search and extrication, casualty handling and basic firefighting. Theory sessions are done in the lecture room, which may be equipped with audio visual equipment to further facilitate learning. The fact that a good extent of training may be done at the headquarters means that a lot of time usually spent travelling is saved. The expenses associated with travelling are also greatly reduced.

Both the administration and all volunteers are highly grateful to the CPD. This shows the mutual respect between E.F.R.U. and the CPD, and the willingness to work together. Unfortunately there is no guarantee for a length of time that the premises will be assigned to the unit. Consequently it holds the executive committee back from investing further in the premises, considering that funds are very limited. E.F.R.U. is currently attempting to get a guarantee on the premises for a number of years in order to continue being of service to the public.

Joe Bonnici
EFRU Rescuer & K9 Handler