COVID-19 Preparedness at EFRU

April 8, 2020 in Informational

The Emergency Fire and Rescue Unit (#EFRU) is actively monitoring the #COVID19 pandemic situation and is currently working with the authorities, as needed. The Volunteer Unit has made its recently acquired ‘rapid deployment tents’ available to the Civil Protection Department (#CPD), together with a number of camp beds, to be used at the Marine Section in Paola as part of the broad #HAZMAT setup which has been put in place in the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
The respective tents and beds have been acquired recently, through funds of the Malta Community Chest Fund Foundation (#MCCFF), as part of EFRU’s two-year project ‘Volunteer Rescuer Team Preparedness in Emergency Response’.
 
A section of EFRU volunteers have also been trained in Decontamination and facilities familiarisation at the HAZMAT unit of the CPD, in preparedness to assist the Department should the needs arise.  In parallel, the Unit retains its operational status, through regular checks and maintenance of its equipment and vehicles. This is being carried out thanks to its volunteers, who are being scheduled to carry out needed tasks whilst respecting current social distancing requirements. All this, in an effort, for the Unit to retain its operational continuity, through safeguarding its human resource, in preparedness for moments of most need in these difficult times.
 
The EFRU encourages the public to stay safe and abides by the guidelines of the Authorities, for the benefit of the Community.
 
Keith Borg
Deputy Director
 
 
 

EVOLSAR Presidency

January 18, 2020 in Informational

Today marks the end of the tenure of EFRU in the EVOLSAR Presidency, represented by Ivan Barbara, after six years in action.

EFRU augurs the best of luck and good work to the new President, Pasquale Pipicelli of Edelweiss, Italy.

Newly elected President Pasquale Pipicelli shakes hands with outgoing President Ivan Barbara.

Pasquale Pipicelli represents Edelweiss, the lead team for Italy, in EVOLSAR.
Ivan Barbara represents EFRU, the lead team for Malta, in EVOLSAR, who presided over EVOLSAR since its founding in 2014.

Facilitating Emergency Communications

November 15, 2019 in Informational

The EFRU is proud to present the result of the hard work and dedication of its members in a project to build a communications console. This project has been funded by the Small Initiatives Support Scheme (SIS) managed by the Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector (MCVS).
 
The communications console facilitates the management and coordination of a multi-site emergency by providing a standalone unit with workspace for 4 personnel, 2 white boards, 2 monitor screens, a base radio and electrical power outlets (including USB charging points). This unit is easily transferable to a vehicle, tent or other building serving the purpose of an emergency control centre. Furthermore, the console is powered by a silent generator and its radio may be connected to a winch-up mast that will help extend the normal range of VHF radios.
 
In addition to providing the EFRU with this useful tool, the project has also served to generate interest among EFRU members in the processes of planning, design and procurement of equipment and material, and also gave them the opportunity to participate hands-on in the building of the console from scratch. The whole unit was brought together thanks to the skills of the volunteers alone.
 
This article reflects the views only of the EFRU, and the MCVS cannot be held responsible for the content or any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
 
Joe Bonnici
EFRU Funding Manager
 

VIATICUM Project – first Transnational Meeting

November 3, 2019 in Informational

#EFRU has participated in the first #Transnational #Meeting for #VIATICUM Project – an #Erasmus+ Project being led by Edelweiss, the #EVOLSAR lead team for Italy.

Good luck Edelweiss!

Let us all strive for another successful project outcome.

This project follows on the footsteps of another #Erasmus+ project concluded in 2017, which was led by EFRU – Synergising European Volunteer Rescue Teams. This project had seen the publication of the #Rescue #Manual entitled Rescue Techniques for Emergency Response.

A4U – EFRU Admin Funding from Agenzija Zghazagh

October 7, 2019 in Informational

The administration office at the Emergency Fire & Rescue Unit has been reinforced thanks to funding from Agenzija Zghazagh, through its A4U scheme. In this year’s project, the EFRU acquired a variety of office equipment, including a laptop, laser colour printer, laser cartridges, paper shredder and storage media.
Running a voluntary organisation requires a lot of background administrative work, which may now be conducted more efficiently thanks to this project.
 
 
 

Fire Truck Donation – London Fire Brigade

July 7, 2019 in Informational

The London Fire Brigade (LFB) has generously accepted to donate one of its fire trucks to the Emergency Fire & Rescue Unit. The presentation was held at Babcock International by the Deputy Assistant Commissioner Rhys Powell in the UK.

Thanks to this donation, the EFRU is expanding its operational fleet of vehicles to augment its support towards the Maltese Community.

The Unit thanks the LFB for believing in and supporting the EFRU’s cause and objectives. The EFRU looks forward to develop further the collaboration with both the LFB and Babcock.

 

2019 Sicily cycling tour

March 21, 2019 in Informational

EFRU Sicily Cycling Tour – Largest participation to date.

The Emergency Fire and Rescue Unit (EFRU) has organised its yearly Fund Raiser Cycling Tour over the past weekend in Sicily, attracting the largest number of cyclists to date.

As usual, the 2019 tour was spread over a period of two days, from Friday 5th to Saturday 6th April, and saw 26 participants challenge their limits whilst cycling through kilometres of undulating terrain from Catania to the city of Regalbuto in the province of Enna and back to Catania the next day.

As a backup team, the EFRU deployed two rescue vehicles which kept close to the cyclists during the tour and a third vehicle that was used to travel ahead of the team marking the planned route and making sure that the chosen roads were safe.

The first day of the tour was particularly challenging for both the cyclists and the EFRU back-up team alike since the route around Mount Etna, on the east coast of Sicily, was hit by dense fog and heavy rain which made it almost impossible for participants to cycle safely without assistance. During the thick of the storm, all the cyclists were grouped by the back-up team and slowly diverted to a safer route, cycling between the rescue vehicles for protection from oncoming traffic thus ensuring their safety.

Day two was favoured with beautiful weather, sunshine and dry roads such that the participants were able to enjoy the beauty of the Sicilian countryside whilst cycling their way from the chosen agriturismo in Regalbuto to Catania. Challenges never stopped during this tour as at exactly the 100km mark, one of the cyclists had an accident. He was treated on the spot by the EFRU advanced First Aid team before being transported in the unit’s ambulance to a close ‘Pronto Soccorso’ where he was kept for almost 24 hours of tests and observations. This meant that three of the EFRU volunteers who formed part of the back-up team backed out of the tour to join the injured cyclist to hospital whilst the rest resumed the journey with the remaining cyclists, ensuring their wellbeing and safety till the end of the route. The injured cyclist was thankfully dismissed from hospital and declared fit to travel on Sunday and was seen to by the same EFRU volunteers who had accompanied him all along this journey till he reached Malta.

Obviously, this tour would not have been possible without the assistance of those who believe in our cause. A huge thank you goes to BNF Bank plc, Freedor Ltd, Go & Fun Malta, Virtu Ferries, Fahrenheit, Simon Debattista from SDB Photography and last but not least, to the EFRU organising committee and back up team that, thanks to their time, dedication and support, have got a number of cyclists addicted to this yearly event.

EFRU Sicily Cycling Tour 2019 – Teaser Videos. Stay tuned for the full version soon. 😁 #EFRUSicilyCyclingTour #EFRU #Volunteers #JoinTheEFRU #cycling #Sicily #Malta'

Posted by Emergency Fire & Rescue Unit on Sunday, May 5, 2019

 

SIMULEX19

January 25, 2019 in Informational

 

SIMULEX19 is another event, organised by the EFRU and funded by the MCCFF, which will see more than 40 foreign rescuers work in sync with the EFRU in a number of different locations around Malta with the sole aim of supporting our island in the unfortunate event of a disaster. Stay tuned for more feeds from the field during the event.

Training Room Overhaul

October 21, 2018 in Informational

This year, the Emergency Fire & Rescue Unit (EFRU) invested heavily in its fundamentals i.e. the tools used for the provision of lectures and courses to its strongest asset, its rescue volunteers as well as third parties.  The Unit has invested heavily in terms of time as well as financially in the development of its skilled human resource.  In return to this investment, the EFRU’s training team services its dedicated team of rescue personnel, the public and several youth groups and schools with informative and value adding sessions and courses relating to first aid skills, fire prevention awareness, safety in work at heights, urban search and rescue, rope rescue, and other advanced rescue techniques.

The EFRU took the decision to invest in its lecture room equipment to maximize the experience of trainees primarily through adequate and appropriate equipment.  The sourced equipment was intended to enhance the visual, acoustic and ergonomic experience during training sessions and this was successfuly achieved.  The EFRU, being a non-profit organisation, faces daily challenges to make ends meet in terms of financial expenses related to equipment maintenance, repairs and day-to-day running.  This is where Agenzija Żgħażagħ has supported the EFRU through its funding scheme Assistance4U which contributed a sum of €1,500 towards this project.  TITAN International supported the initiative with the sponsorship of two Air conditioning units for the same training room.

The EFRU appreciates the support of both entities in facilitating the successful outcome of the project within a shorter timeframe than it would have otherwise taken the Unit to complete the project.  It is through the intervention of such supporting entities that the EFRU can capitalise the experiential benefit of its activities for its volunteer youths and adults as well as third party youths and young adults.  The Unit is eager to undertake similar projects in the near future to continue building its resources to enhance its services to its volunteer core and the community.

 

 

Our 12th Anniversary – 23rd June 2018

July 26, 2018 in General, Informational

The EFRU is today celebrating its 12 years of local service since it’s conception back in 2006. A team which kicked off from 5 dedicated founder members is now is a 40-strong organisation which brings members together in training to assist the local authorities in emergency situations such as floodings, Urban Search and Rescue (USAR), Fire Fighting, Rope Rescue, K-9 and High Angle Rescue. As our motto states, our mission is precisely that of helping others, even if that means making sacrifices of our own and taking our own share of calculated risks. A mission which all the members fulfil willingly and entirely on a voluntary basis.

It is opportune to mention some recent feats which the EFRU is extremely proud of. First and foremost, it is worth remembering the conclusion of a monumental project – Synergizing European Volunteer Rescue Teams – which was funded by the Erasmus+ Programme and which the EFRU had been propelling forward for two years. Through this funding, the EFRU was able to publish a basic rescue manual entitled Rescue Techniques for Emergency Response. Also in 2017, our First Aid capabilities were given a significant boost by means of a new ambulance which was procured thanks to the co-funding achieved via the Good Causes Fund and EFRU’s very own Cycling Tour initiatives.  More achievements continued to mark our calendar throughout the past year. Through the MCCFF funding stream, the Unit procured a set of two field tents which now play a crucial role in the team’s preparedness factor, particularly in disaster scenarios and large-scale emergency response. Last but not least, we are all extremely proud of our latest addition to the EFRU fleet: the Mercedes Atego 1325 Fire Engine which, after a period of temporary loan, was garaged in its new home.  It now continues to serve with us. This was the fruit of a long-term collaboration with our Gozitan brothers and sisters of the Emergency Response Rescue Corps on a number of projects. This brings us to the essence of this small collection of thoughts. As the saying goes in Maltese, ‘kull qalb trid oħra’, and throughout its achievements, the EFRU hardly ever stands alone. And yet again on Saturday 23 June, the team stood alongside Her Excellency Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, President of Malta to celebrate the 12th year of EFRU’s cause. The president kindly honoured us with Her presence in our humble Headquarters and expressed her appreciation to the work we do.  A proud moment to all, unequivocally. Where we stood, however, one particular member shone brighter and prouder than the rest of us – Josef, our seasoned volunteer and committee member, who this month celebrates his tenth anniversary as member of the EFRU! He also had the honour to be congratulated by Her Excellency the President of Malta and of course be greeted with a huge pat on the back by fellow members of the EFRU. No organisation could be more grateful for the selfless commitment shown by one of its longest-serving, enthusiastic members. And so last Saturday was a big day for the EFRU and one which weaved another thread in the intricate pattern that is our history.

 

 

Iona Muscat – Rescuer & Newsletter Editor