The 72 Hours Project – A Marathon of Voluntary Work

September 26, 2013 in Newsletters

Following similar initiatives in other European countries, the local youth association ‘Zgħazagħ Azzjoni Kattolika’ (ZAK) obtained funds from the EU Youth in Action Program and organised “72 Hours”. The project was spread over 11 months and culminated in a 72 hour marathon of voluntary work between the 5th and the 8th of September 2013. The idea of the marathon was to have a large number of people doing voluntary work at the same time with different organisations and institutions, thus promoting volunteering and showcasing the priceless work done by volunteers.

 The Emergency Fire and Rescue Unit’s Contribution

As an organisation totally run by volunteers, EFRU fully embraces the idea of promoting volunteering and of being testimony to the precious work done for the community. EFRU did not hesitate to subscribe to the 72 Hour project by setting up a search and rescue simulation in which they involved a number of youths from the Stella Maris Scout Group, Sliema. The scouts had the opportunity to experience what goes on during the search for victims in the event of a major accident, as well as rescuing the victims and giving them appropriate first aid.

The simulation was conducted in a derelict underground flour mill, one of seven built by the British during the Cold War with the intention to keep the Maltese population supplied with bread in case of an attack. The environment presented several dangers which the rescue team had to contend with, such as rusting machinery, rotting wooden flooring and significant heights. Each member of the team had to take care of their safety as well as that of their team mates, while searching the unfamiliar place to find the victims, making sure no place was missed. Upon finding the victims, the rescue teams then split the work between giving first aid to the victim and identifying the best ways to get the victim to safety including preparing any necessary equipment for the job.

There are various benefits that may be derived from this rescue simulation. This was first and foremost an exercise in teamwork. Then there are also the aspects of planning (especially when it comes to safety), as well as working swiftly yet cautiously (due to the dangerous environment). First aid techniques were also practiced during the training session. Last but not least, everyone felt a sense of achievement that only voluntary work can give you.

The management and volunteers of the EFRU wish to congratulate ZAK for the initiative and look forward to similar projects in the future.

Joe Bonnici
EFRU Rescue Volunteer