SIMIT 2015 – A three day simulated deployment on various rescue scenarios

September 23, 2015 in U.S.A.R.

The month of September 2015 marked an important milestone in the calendar of the Emergency Fire & Rescue Unit (EFRU) thanks to its involvement in a SIMIT (Integrated System for Transboundary Italo-Maltese Civil Protection) Project Earthquake Rescue simulation organised by the Civil Protection Department of Malta (CPD), one of the five (5) partners in this project. Participants in this Simulation were local NGOs involved in the field of rescue and other Sicilian Rescue teams that were invited over purposely for the occasion.

This Simulation was held over the course of three days, from Thursday 3rd September to Saturday 5th, most of which time was occupied with different rescue scenarios for all the volunteers to work together while testing the preparedness of each team and gaining experiences that only such simulated deployments can offer.
The scenarios prepared by the CPD differed in nature and included search and rescue missions, confined space rescues, fire fighting scenarios and other rescue scenarios involving the use of high angle rescue equipment among others.

This whole experience came to an end with a lovely dinner cooked to perfection by members of the Scouts Association of Malta, which also forked in its share during the simulation by preparing a base camp in ‘Ghajn Tuffieha’ for the refugees as well as catering for all the rescuers and participants.

The EFRU participated with a team of 25 volunteers and was deployed by the CPD in all of the rescue scenarios prepared for this SIMIT Simulation that were situated in Malta. The vehicles used were the Unit’s Mess Van, its Dodge Fire Truck and three (3) Back up vehicles that are privately owned by the volunteers.

The management team of the EFRU would like to take this opportunity to thank the Civil Protection Department for organizing the various rescue scenarios for different volunteer teams to work together, thus simulating a true emergency in the event of a national disaster.

Are you interested in voluntary rescue work? Would you like to dedicate some time on a weekly basis to train yourself and participate in similar future opportunities that the EFRU offers to its volunteers, be it on a local or international platform?
Send us an email on [email protected] and we will guide you accordingly.

Keith Borg
Manager PR & Funding

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EVOLSAR Rescue Training – June 2015

July 12, 2015 in U.S.A.R.

When I joined the EFRU around two years ago I did not know what lay ahead of me; I thought that I would only have to carry people in stretchers and administer first aid. Being a member of the EFRU has turned out to be much more than that. Over the past two years, I have seen the members of the administrative committee work hard towards improving on what the unit had already achieved.In my opinion, their best initiative was to team up with other volunteer rescue groups in other countries and therefore founding EVOLSAR. Teaming up with foreign groups gave us the opportunity to broaden our knowledge with regard to rescue techniques, and also helped us to become familiar with different techniques and rescue equipment used in other countries. This initiative strengthened the EFRU as a unit, and enhanced our capability of responding to cases of widespread disasters both locally and abroad, with the help of our new allies from other countries.

This June, I had the opportunity to experience first-hand the benefits of joining forces with other countries. Together with 3 other EFRU members, I attended a 1 week course on Rescue in Collapsed Structures in Portugal as delivered by EPS; another active organisation that forms part of EVOLSAR. This course was organised in such a way that a real life scenario is replicated. Basically this meant that we had to ration the food and water, sleep in tents and act as a self-sufficient unit. What made this scenario much more realistic and interesting is that 4 different countries participated in this training / exercise; the countries were Malta, Portugal, Cyprus and Italy. In a real life scenario, such as in the case of an earthquake, rescuers from different countries will flood in and have to work together to coordinate the rescue efforts. The first difficulty one will find when trying to coordinate such rescue efforts with rescuers from other countries is the language barrier. This was actually one of the main challenges we encountered during the training we had in Portugal, but on the other hand it made the exercise much more interesting and realistic.

The course was designed in such a way that it had a smooth build up, each and every day we woke up at 08:00 hrs and started working on a particular topic, starting with something simple and building up as we go. We finished each day tired but always satisfied of what we managed to achieve in such a short span of time.During our evening meals we took the opportunity to socialize and get to know the other participants; slowly but surely a bond between a group of people who had never met each other before this course, began to form. This bond proved to be critical during the last 2 days when we had a 24 hour exercise, as by that time we more or less knew the abilities of every individual; we had also figured out ways to communicate with each other and considered ourselves as a family on a mission. Unfortunately, during this exercise, I suffered a migraine attack, but this occurrence made me appreciate more the bond that we had managed to build in just one week. People who I had never met before this training took good care of me and genuinely showed concern, all this while they were sleep deprived and doing hard work in confined spaces.

During this course I learned many useful rescue techniques, which I had never thought I would get the opportunity to learn.However the most important lesson I learned was about the challenges one faces and the rewards gained when working with volunteers from other countries.

Stephen Dalli
EFRU Rescuer

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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

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@Fire USAR Simulation – German – October 2014

December 31, 2014 in U.S.A.R.

On the 10th of October 2014, a keen trio of members stepped outside their normal work routine and joined a group of @FIRE international civil protection volunteers in a hectic three day Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) training camp.

Utilising the THW (Bundesanstalt Technisches Hilfswerk) station in Lohne (Oldenburg), Germany, the @FIRE volunteers (from all @FIRE hubs across Germany and Switzerland) and the EFRU Maltese team simulated a large-scale destruction of a tsunami on the South American continent.

Addressing the aftermath, a quick deployment was emulated forming an On Site Operations Coordination Centre (OSOCC) tasking the USAR team with the setting up of the Base of Operations (BoO) a few kilometers away from the devastating earthquake invoked tsunami’s hot zone. The BoO included a headquarters, communications hub, separate sleeping, eating and decontamination areas and equipment stock setup.A plan of action was immediately implemented and shared with all rescuers including a preliminary site assessment provided by the Local Emergency Management Authority (LEMA) and resources split and assigned to the different task forces.

Once all preparations were in order, the EFRU and @FIRE volunteers forming part of the technical search specialist team departed to the disaster site where they started assessing a number of impacted buildings inside the high priority zones, classifying them in accordance of the probability of occurrence of trapped victims, while completing a risk assessment and listing any special equipment which may be required by the USAR team. Any potential need for the deployment of the K9 team were also analysed, and each work site was assigned a triage category between A and H depending on the probability of live victims, void size, and stability levels.

Upon reporting all categories to OSOCC, K9 and medium USAR teams made up from members from both organisations were deployed. Equipped with search cameras, metal cutting and concrete breaking equipment, and vertical shoring systems, team quickly set working to rescue casualties trapped deep underneath the debris. Despite the harsh cold and wet conditions, USAR team worked in unity throughout the night to save the tsunami victims.

These three days of training were very fruitful and remarkable during which EFRU volunteers had a first encounter with @FIRE volunteers from multiple countries, and engaged in the simulation of an international operational deployment. When considering the short time frame and the exercise dimensions and attention to detail, results achieved were very positive.

“This was a pristine opportunity for both EFRU and @FIRE to gain a vivid insight on the modes of operation of each entity.It was very remarkable for EFRU volunteers to observe the interactions among @FIRE volunteers from different hubs who rarely meet at such a scale.” Maria Micallef

Whilst this exercise proved to be a very good occasion for EFRU to further broadened its international network, it was also an excellent opportunity for EFRU to,on-behalf of EVOLSAR, expose the feelers of other European volunteer organisations for civil protection voluntary teams. The EFRU, currently leading EVOLSAR’s Presidency during the association’s first year of operation, is currently seeking to widen EVOLSAR’s horizons by reaching out to organisations which can mutually benefit from as simulations during international training and live deployments.

The EFRU is very grateful for the hospitality and cordiality shown by all of @FIRE’s volunteers and THW’s Lohne volunteers, and for sharing and explaining information and work practices during such a strategically crucial time in the history of @FIRE in its endeavor to achieve the United Nations’ INSARAG certification in 2016.

Following this productive visit, EFRU and @FIRE are actively working together to consolidate a networking agreement for the common interest of both organisations and their respective volunteers.

David Cristina and Maria Micallef

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Beyond the edge… and back in one piece!

March 29, 2014 in U.S.A.R.

The Maltese Islands are graced with majestic cliffs, mostly to the West/Northwest of the country. Especially in Winter and Spring, many families are attracted by the imposing views that these cliffs afford. Then, there is the adrenalin rush when looking down at the landscape below, standing right at the edge. Careful however, as there is a valid reason for all the rocks and boulders beneath the cliff – they were once part of the cliff face, until weathering and gravity conspired to bring them crashing down. Unfortunately, there have been cases of persons who ventured too close to the edge – and that means the start of a delicate and complex rescue operation to get the person back up safely and without furthering any injuries.

As one may imagine, the rescue operation has to proceed smoothly, both for the sake of the injured person who needs urgent medical help, as well as for the safety of all involved in the operation. For this reason, the Emergency Fire and Rescue Unit (EFRU) simulated the aforementioned scenario, in order to give its members the opportunity to learn and practise the techniques involved in such a case. You might be wondering what is the EFRU? The EFRU is a voluntary NGO whose main role is to assist the Civil Protection Department (CPD) during major emergencies or events where the CPD requires additional backup to its regular workforce. Furthermore, the EFRU has signed an agreement with a similar organisation – Edelweiss – in Italy, such that both organisations cooperate and learn from each other and may be mobilised to help each other as necessary. This organisation was in fact invited to participate in this rescue simulation.

The exercise was held on Saturday the 1st of March, at L-Ahrax in Mellieha. The weather was not looking too good at first, but that was not going to affect the exercise, because one never knows what the conditions will be when a real accident happens. Three ‘casualties’ were hidden among the rocks at the bottom of the cliff while three teams of rescuers were preparing to start the rescue operation. The tasks involved searching for the casualties, administering first aid and putting them in a stretcher. Meanwhile, an aerial runway was set up. In simple terms, this is a system that includes a tensioned rope, over which the casualty (inside a stretcher) is pulled up together with a rescuer, while the casualty is kept in a horizontal position. The overall focus of the exercise was mainly to practice communication and teamwork, especially with our foreign colleagues. The outcome of this simulation was a success and preparations have already started for the next ‘major’ exercise which will be held in Italy.

 

Joe Bonnici
EFRU Rescuer

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Elite Special Task Force – Greece October 2013

December 30, 2013 in U.S.A.R.

Someone once said that ‘those who say that we’re in a time when there are no heroes; they just don’t know where to look’ (Ronald Regan, First Inaugural Address, 20 Jan 1981).

More than 30 years later, Regan’s words are proven true as we speak. For the seven members of the Emergency Fire and Rescue Unit (EFRU) who made it to Greece for another training adventure, this was truly a case of heroes in the making, and our members are extremely proud to have been part of this.

Towards the end of October 2013, the EFRU was invited to partake in the 1st International Training Conference of Elite Special Task Force which took place in Athens, Greece. The conference, as the name implies, was aimed at bringing together rescue teams from different countries and to provide a common platform for training, sharing of information, discussions and rescue simulations. This week-long event saw the participation of nine rescue teams from six European countries: Greece, Cyprus, Serbia, Turkey, Italy and Malta. The Maltese contingent, made up entirely of EFRU volunteers, worked alongside the Greek EP.OM.E.A. Aigaleo, EP.OM.E.A. Thessaloniki, EP.OM.E.A. Sintiki, and EP.OM.E.A. Velou Vocha, the Larnaca Rescue Team of Cyprus, the Serbian Rescue Team, the Turkish AFAD and the Italian Gruppo Soccorsi Speciali Edelweiss, among other local entities.

The EFRU participated mostly in the concluding sessions, spread over two days of thorough training. One particular session focused entirely on water rescue and included practical and theoretical exercises related to life-saving techniques in water. This session saw our volunteers shed their uniforms and practice water rescue skills in several simulated scenarios, particularly those involving a panicking subject and an unconscious casualty. The principal training session consisted of a large-scale, multifold U.S.A.R. exercise. The scenario presented an earthquake simulation and involved live casualties trapped beneath building debris and within overturned vehicles and who had to be safely extracted by the operating rescue teams. Methods of access and extraction varied from vertical penetration to an aerial ropeway and from abseiling to accompanied horizontal recovery.  In all cases, the participating teams had to administer first aid on site and deliver the casualties to the triage area just outside the disaster zone.

Our volunteers performed brilliantly and their satisfied faces in the photos that followed bear unparalleled testimony to the pride and satisfaction that they felt upon successfully completing the tasks assigned to them. Through this exercise, the EFRU continued to consolidate its foreign relations and most importantly, to demonstrate the formidability of the team. The participants are, to this date, still receiving very positive feedback on various aspects of their operation.  While this owes to the efficiency of the team in general, one cannot but praise our leaders for giving the team the assets that it has today.  This has been an excellent opportunity for the EFRU volunteers to fly the Maltese flag away from our shores and this is just what they did: they have shown everyone how our little country not only has a big heart, but also has its fair share of heroes in the making.

That being said, our members couldn’t let this adventure come to an end without sealing it with a generous dose of fun and food. The sun-kissed hills of Athens provided the perfect setting for that, with members of the Greek team, particularly the leaders of the organising entity – EP.OM.E.A Aigaleo – ensuring that our members were spoiled with the best tastes and hints of Greece.  Special thanks go to George Roum and Maria Koul for devoting large chunks of their precious time to the enjoyment of the EFRU contingent!

The spare time that our members had after the closing of the conference, was jam-packed with sight-seeing excursions, shopping, metro trips and never-ending meals; which were the cause of big smiles and a couple of extra kilos on their way back home. What stood out about the EFRU team however, as they descended from the plane and made their way out of the Maltese airport, was the kindred spirit that each of them share and that makes the EFRU the great, unified team that it is.

Iona Muscat
EFRU Volunteer

Rescue 2013 – April 2013

May 8, 2013 in U.S.A.R.

On the 27th of April, the Emergency Fire and Rescue Unit participated in an international rescue exercise, ‘RESCUE 2013’, which took place in the commune of Badolato, in the mountainous region of Calabria. Set in an earthquake-prone region in the southern tip of the Italian peninsula, the event organized by Protezione Civile Edelweiss, brought together the efforts of several rescue organisations including the Italian volunteer organization Protezione Civile Edelweiss, the Escola Portuguesa de Salvamento (EPS-SAR) of Portugal, the Emergency Fire and Rescue Unit (EFRU) from Malta, the Croce Rosse Militare from Italy and the CISOM group also from Italy. The EFRU in fact contributed with a team of 10 volunteers.

The exercise consisted of different rescue simulations which focused mainly on modules of USAR (Urban Search and Rescue), Medium-USAR and Confined Space Rescue. The participants were divided into three multinational teams, each of which had to respond to three different calamity scenarios that required various degrees of rescue expertise and teamwork. Each team was led by one of the three leaders of the main participating groups: Edelweiss, EPS-SAR and EFRU respectively. This multinational collaboration was indeed the highlight of this exercise, serving to promote collaboration among different teams as well as to share knowledge and techniques. EFRU volunteers had the opportunity not only to perform in unfamiliar landscapes while enhancing their knowledge and experience, but also to interact with foreign rescue teams using foreign languages and diverse methods towards achieving one same goal, that of safeguarding life.

Iona Muscat
EFRU Rescue Volunteer

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Search and Rescue

March 26, 2013 in U.S.A.R.

On a bright, sunny Saturday afternoon in winter, Malta’s countryside quickly attracts people from all walks of life, all of whom are eager to relax, unwind and have fun. To mention one example, Wied Babu, in the limits of Żurrieq, is very popular with families who go for walks in the valley, as well as climbers seeking to practice their sport.

The area, however, does require that adequate precautions are taken as the rock face is steep in places and may be quite slippery. Grass near the edges adds to the danger, while trees and shrubs are likely to hide away from view anyone who may slip over the edge. If the worst were to happen, help would need to be requested as quickly as possible – not only because the injuries require rapid treatment, but also because darkness will make the rescue efforts more difficult. In the evening, the temperature drops quickly, thus increasing the danger by possibly leading to hypothermia for the injured person.

This is one of the scenarios that are periodically practiced by the Emergency Fire and Rescue Unit (E.F.R.U.) volunteers during their regular training. Apart from the regular volunteers, the auxiliary unit of the E.F.R.U. also participates, to keep current with the rescue techniques used.

The Search

The training scenario gave indications that two persons had gone missing in the valley, possibly injured after a fall while practicing climbing. They were alone, so no one was able to point their exact location. The group of volunteers was divided into two teams and each team’s leader sent four persons to search half of the valley – two at the bottom and another two looking from higher ground. Meanwhile, the rest of the team prepared the equipment needed. Such a search needs to be done carefully and thoroughly, as the casualty may be unconscious or unable to call for help or reply to the rescuers’ calls.

Rescue dogs may be used to help during the search (see Nosey Heroes ), however there may be situations where it is not practical to use dogs, so a ‘manual’ search as described above is applied. If available, certain specialized equipment such as thermal cameras may also be utilized to assist during the search.

Assessing the Situation

Once the casualties are found, the message is passed on to the team leaders to prepare and plan the next steps. At least one rescuer always remains with the casualty and assesses the injuries to administer first aid as necessary. The information from the injury assessment is also passed on to the leader so that only the necessary equipment is carried down – both to avoid tiring the rescuers unnecessarily and also to minimize the possibility of losing expensive equipment. A small reconnaissance team is also sent to scout the area and identify the best (and safest) route back to street level.

The Recovery

After being given first aid on site, the casualty is then prepared for the recovery step. When a person sustains a significant fall, it is normal for the rescue team not to take any chances and immobilise the casualty using a cervical collar (neck brace) and a spinal board. This may be quite challenging at times due to the lack of space where the rescuers need to work, but these measures will prevent further injuries to the casualty. After immobilisation, the casualty is transferred onto an appropriate stretcher for this kind of terrain. The bucket stretcher is a good candidate in the scenario we are describing. Care must be taken to secure the casualty well in the stretcher, as the route up to street level is likely to be steep and slippery.

The stretcher is also prepared with ropes secured to it at its four corners. The two ropes at the front (near the casualty’s head) may be used to drag the stretcher where it is difficult for the rescuers to carry it, for example underneath tree branches. They may also be used to help the rescuers carrying the stretcher when going up steep terrain, if there are at least two extra people available. Sometimes, it may be easier and more efficient to suspend the stretcher towards higher ground when there is a very steep rock face or even an overhang: a group of rescuers on higher ground will pull the stretcher towards them by the two front ropes, while the rescuers below will keep enough tension on the back ropes to keep the stretcher suspended at an angle. This technique is known as the ‘Two Point Suspension’ method. Once back at street level, the casualty is handed over to the ambulance team together with all relevant information that will help the medics save time and administer the best treatment.

Needless to say, teamwork is very important in all phases of the rescue operation but even more so when using such techniques. This is an important element in any E.F.R.U. training exercise. While the initial group was split in two in order to work in parallel to rescue two different casualties, the two teams were not in competition with each other. Team leaders regularly consult each other in order to direct their team members to help the other team where necessary. At the end of the day, there is one organisation (the E.F.R.U.) and one common goal – that of locating and rescuing the casualties quickly, efficiently and above all, safely.

Joe Bonnici
EFRU Rescuer

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Interview: Joe Bonello

March 22, 2013 in U.S.A.R.

Ever since he was a young man, Joe Bonello spent most of his free time at the fireworks factory practising his pyrotechnic hobby. This hobby very nearly claimed his life and Joe attributes his survival to Sandro Camilleri – a volunteer with EFRU who quite literally risked his own life in order to save Joe’s.

‘I was in the workshop (Barrakka as we called it) working on some firework shells and taking them out to dry on trays. As I was going back in, I saw a colleague of mine who suggested we take a coffee break. I told him that I would join him later, as I had just made some coffee and was waiting for it to cool a bit. I started towards the kitchen when I saw a sudden blaze of fire inside, towards the back of the room. I shouted and went running towards the other rooms to warn the others, but after a couple of steps I felt as though someone pushed me hard and I was rolling on the stones and dust…I don’t remember anything else…’

In the meantime, Sandro was stuck in traffic nearby, on his way to a First Aid duty in Sliema. When he witnessed the factory explode, he immediately made his way to the site where he was the first to arrive. Sandro parked his Rescue Landover behind a wall for protection, as explosions were still occurring and stones and other debris were flying around. Soon afterwards, two district policemen arrived, followed by a teenage girl who claimed her father was still inside the factory. Sandro managed to calm the distraught girl and explained that if she entered the site, she might become yet another victim to the incident.

Two civilians then showed up and said they were familiar with the premises and could easily navigate through the ruins. Sandro gave them each a helmet, cut through the chain on the gate, and the three of them entered together to search for survivors. Explosions were still occurring and debris was falling around them but as Sandro explained, “we were very careful and took shelter where possible”.
They entered the ruins and made their way to the back of the factory, where Sandro found Joe lying against a wall. As a result of the blast, judging by the blood stain on the wall above him, Joe had been thrown around 10 metres from where he had been standing and had sustained a head injury, an open-fracture to his arm and a high percentage of burns on his back and side of body. Sandro described Joe as being “conscious, but suffering from shock and severely confused”. While Sandro assessed Joe’s injuries, the other two people who had accompanied him continued to search for other victims.

Sandro then grabbed Joe and carried him to a nearby fireworks workshop that was clear of the explosions still going on, and ran back to the road shouting for a stretcher and some assistance. By this time, an ambulance had arrived on the scene and the ambulance crew threw a stretcher to Sandro. He then ran back to Joe, manoeuvred him onto the stretcher and began dragging Joe to safety. The trek was difficult as Sandro was alone and the ground was strewn with rocks and other debris. As Sandro approached the road, a policeman and a bystander went to help him carry the stretcher up the last part to safety.

The first thing Joe remembers after the incident is waking up in hospital with his wife at his bedside. She filled him in on the details and he was shocked and upset to find out that he was the only survivor. “I cannot remember most of what happened. My wife said that I was conscious when I arrived at hospital, and the police were asking me questions about what happened…but I cannot recall any of it.”

In November 2012, Joe was invited to the EFRU annual barbecue and was given the opportunity to finally meet Sandro. Joe considers Sandro to be his hero, because as Joe put it “Sandro risked his life to save me”.

During the barbecue, although painful for Joe, he and Sandro talked about the incident and what had happened that day. Whilst talking to Sandro, Joe started remembering bits and pieces of what happened immediately after the initial explosions and also whilst Sandro was pulling him to safety. He recalled Sandro telling him what was happening and constantly reassuring him, as well as other details that only someone who was actually there could possibly have known.

During the same barbecue, Joe also learned about the work and training held at EFRU, and was presented with a plaque as a token from EFRU. Joe says that he’s placed it in a prominent place in the house, where it serves as a reminder to him that he should take every day as a blessing.

Joe Bonello, now 46 years old, works as a gardener and has turned his interest and focus to other hobbies (that do not relate to pyrotechnics), namely football. He has also taken the initiative and advanced his education by attending courses on Health and Safety in the workplace and is planning to follow a first aid course. As he explained, despite the need to be cautious and have the necessary qualifications to work in a fireworks factory, it is always better to be prepared and have safety precautions in place before something happens.

Joe stated that NGOs like EFRU are important for society and he has the utmost respect for the volunteers who carry out their work with a passion.

If you work with Pyrotechnics, Joe recommends that you work sensibly and according to a few simple rules:
• Always be careful.
• Follow the given instructions carefully.
• Follow the rules and practice what you have learnt for the exam to obtain the license.
• Do not take personal initiatives, they may lead to fatality.

Sylvana Cremona
EFRU First Aider

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Abseiling Training for the K9 Team

October 14, 2012 in U.S.A.R.

Preparations for the Novex 2012 exercise are well under way at EFRU! The Novex exercise being organised by the Civil Protection Department, may present various disaster scenarios to which the EFRU will need to respond quickly and efficiently, but above all, safely.

The K9 team (a team of handlers and dogs used to search for victims trapped under rubble) have practised descending from heights with their dogs safely strapped. While it may seem easy and straightforward, it takes a while to calm the dogs down and prepare them for the descent. Manoeuvring with the dogs is not very easy either, especially considering they weigh around 30 Kg. However, after a few tries, both handlers and dogs were confident enough to be ready to do it in a real setting.

Joe Bonnici
K9 Handler & Rescuer

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