EVOL-SAR – Technical Rope Rescue Training Course in Greece last January

March 28, 2015 in U.S.A.R.

The freezing temperatures and ice cold winds did not deter a group of keen volunteers from participating in a four day rope rescue training course on the Karpenisi Mountains in Greece. Led by the instructor Francisco Rocha from Portugal’s Escola Portuguesa de Salvamento (EPS) team, and assisted by the Maltese Emergency Fire and Rescue Unit (EFRU) team, 22 experienced rescue personnel from the Greek EP.OM.E.A group and the Serbian Rescue Team took part in a jam-packed advanced course. This was organised as part of an in-house training program within EVOL-SAR, The European Association of Civil Protection Volunteer Teams.

Initially the following areas were covered: safety rope rescue rules, team roles, functions, and communication methodologies (including hand and audible signals). Then, all the volunteers engaged in a number of practical exercises involving dry run setups of complex configurations with knots, rigging, pulley systems and mechanical advantages. Once the principles were mastered, all personnel started working on self-rescue procedures and team engagements, particularly focusing on responsibilities for the belay line, main line and mechanical advantage roles.

The training course then moved on to ‘real life’ scenarios amidst the bitter but beautiful Karpenisi Mountains, dubbed as the ‘Switzerland of Greece’. All the team practised and worked on low angle (0 to 40 degrees), steep angle (40 to 60 degrees), high angle (60 to 90 degrees) and highline rigging and evacuation scenarios. Particular attention was given to the use of artificial high directionals (using both an A-frame and ladder in separate exercises), facilitating the negotiation of high angle rescue operations.

The training course was made possible thanks to the EVOLSAR Association and the extremely warm hospitality shown by the Greek group. It allowed for not only the sharing of technical knowledge and certification of candidates, but also gave the opportunity to further enhance the synergy between all personnel from the EVOL-SAR member countries.

David Cristina
EFRU Rescuer