Synergising European Volunteer Rescue Teams: The point of view of the youngest member involved.

March 12, 2016 in Interviews

I have recently had the opportunity to participate and be involved in a training exercise organised by the EFRU for the team members of EVOLSAR as part of the Erasmus+ KA2 Strategic Partnerships program. Participants from various countries and different age groups took part in a 5-day exercise which simulated different emergency scenarios in which the teams could train together to improve their interoperability.

I joined the EFRU at around May, 2015 and have been actively training with the organisation since. During training I learned how real-life rescue operations are handled and familiarized myself with the basic procedures and techniques of different rescue disciplines, such as rope rescue and Urban Search and Rescue.  Through training I also had the opportunity to get better acquainted with the other EFRU members, so much so that I now consider them as brothers and sisters in unity for one cause, something which is fundamental when it comes to real-life rescue scenarios.

Although it had all the exciting characteristics of previous exercises, this particular activity was a category of its own and brought the excitement of training to a completely different level. Most notable was the fact that the exercise brought together people from different cultural and social backgrounds to train together. I had the privilege to partake in all key activities and as much fun as it was, I admit is was also, perhaps, the biggest hurdle: working with people who speak different languages and use different techniques is no easy task. This is precisely the issue that the project is set to address: achieving interoperability through practice and teamwork.

Being the youngest participating member and also one with little experience in rescue training, this exercise revealed some new realities for me. Although I thought I may not have much to offer, it turned out that my participation was greatly appreciated and that I am always welcome by the other members, both at EFRU and EVOLSAR levels. I also learnt how much there is to take back from giving one’s time and effort to such cause. Finally, this experience has also given me the motivation to continue my involvement within EFRU because there is much to learn and the more I learn, the more I am able to give. As with all rewarding causes in life, the more I give, the more I get back in return.

This exercise was overall a great experience, even though it required a lot of sacrifice from the organizational aspect. This sacrifice, however, was worth its weight in gold as the exercise turned out to be not only a successful one, but also a milestone which saw the growth of a very strong bond between team members of this multinational volunteer organization. Achieving interoperability is still our sole main goal and we’re a few good yards away from finally getting there, yet, we will keep working together and, as we successfully did countless times, we will put our differences behind us and look on our common aims with confidence and ambition. Someday, soon enough, we will surely get there.

Isaac Zammit

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