Overview of 2015 – The Director’s perspective

December 12, 2015 in General

main_300Since its conception in 2006, the EFRU was never static neither in its operations nor in its objectives. The year 2015 has been a testimony to this with various new milestones reached and various opportunities given to our volunteers. These opportunities became possible with the setting up of EVOLSAR in 2014.

Under EVOLSAR’s umbrella, in January, three (3) of our leaders traveled to Greece to assist in a rope rescue course being delivered to our Greek EVOLSAR team by our Portuguese international instructor.  This was again repeated in Italy, last May, when the EFRU sent again three (3) of its instructors to assist.  In June, another four (4) volunteers attended for an intensive seven (7) day training course based on INSARAG standards.  This was held in Portugal and covered various disciplines including confined space, breaching and shoring among other techniques, thus making the experience a holistic and realistic one for the volunteers. In September, two (2) volunteers attended for a four (4) day USAR training course in Greece, which course covered the basics in handling the aftermath of an earthquake in urban zones.

In October, five (5) Volunteers traveled to the UK to participate in a four (4) day intensive Swift Water Rescue Course.  This was a course funded by the Small Initiative Scheme (SIS), a local fund managed by the Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector (MCVS).  The course was facilitated by our UK colleagues of the voluntary team, SERVE ON. The year’s experiences were capped with the participation of a team of seven (7) volunteers in SAR day 2015 held in Portugal.  This was a 24 hour training and operational experience shared between EVOLSAR teams and another 5 teams from around Europe.

Schools 5Also happening this year were the various training opportunities that the EFRU normally has.  Apart from these, the EFRU has organised its annual Cycling tour in Sicily which again was very much appreciated by all cyclists.  In September three (3) volunteers visited the UK Emergency Services Exhibition, with the prime purpose of networking with other entities and teams as well as researching new technologies on the field.

Also during 2015, the EFRU has managed to secure funds through an ERASMUS+ project (managed by EUPA) that will see the Unit lead a program with five (5) partner teams from Italy, UK, Portugal, Greece and Cyprus to come up with a training rescue manual for new volunteers. EVOLSAR has had its first accession and is also at the moment vetting new teams that have shown their wish to join.  These teams are coming from Hungary, Serbia, Spain as well as a new team from Italy.  The EFRU has again been entrusted with the Presidency of EVOLSAR for the coming two terms of six (6) months each.

DSC_0811-800-3002016 promises to be another hectic year.  Already, another four (4) teams are lining up to join EVOLSAR.  Various other experiences and opportunities await us and I urge all volunteers to continue giving their utmost as it is only with their loyalty and commitment that the EFRU may continue to strive forward not only in Malta but also on the European platform, abroad.

Ivan Barbara
EFRU Director