Greece 2016

September 27, 2016 in U.S.A.R.

Early last June, three volunteer members of the Emergency Fire & Rescue Unit (EFRU) travelled to Athens, Greece to take part in ENCELADUS 2016, the 2nd instance of an International Training Conference on Earthquake Disaster Response & Earthquake Simulation exercise.

ENCELADUS 2016 was organized by the Greek team – Elite Team Special Missions of Greece (EP.OM.E.A.) with the support of the Municipality of Egaleo, which saw the joint venture of various EVOLSAR (The European Association of Civil Protection Volunteer Teams) teams and other volunteer teams from Europe. The conference tackled various topics including civil protection, geology, meteorology, first aid during natural disasters, firefighting and disaster response. For EVOLSAR, this conference was an important occasion where the Association was presented to a wide ranging audience by the EFRU Director and EVOLSAR President, Ivan Barbara. Following this introduction, EVOLSAR team members worked as one team in setting up an aerial ropeway system as well as a high angle rope set up, both of which to serve for rapid evacuation of a casualty with a rescuer, as a demonstration to corroborate EVOLSAR’s work and capabilities.

The climax of this activity was reached on the last day when volunteers headed out at 0300hrs for a rapid response exercise in a real Earthquake-struck building (a building that was put out of use a number of decades ago due to damage inflicted by a real earthquake). Therefore, in an Earthquake-stricken building scenario, the EFRU members worked as part of different teams, whereby teams were construed of volunteers coming from different organisations and various countries. This may at times present itself as a problematic situation in view of language barriers, however, rescue techniques may be adopted as a common language that requires no excessive use of words. Through EVOLSAR’s intervention on harmonisation of training in rescue as well as in operations, such difficulties are being minimised or addressed. The EFRU is currently leading an EU funded project (ERASMUS+ KA2) with the specific aim of setting up a common manual for all EVOLSAR teams, enabling effective sharing of information and networking. It is through training activities as held in Greece that the necessity of harmonisation surfaces so clearly.

Therefore, we would like to show our deepest gratitude to our Greek counterparts in EVOLSAR – EP.OM.E.A.. It was yet again another remarkable experience for the EFRU volunteers in their quest for networking and interoperability.