USAR Training Camp Held at CPD Ta Kandja

February 17, 2011 in General

The Emergency Fire & Rescue Unit (E.F.R.U.) has participated, and successfully completed, a three day course held by the Civil Protection Department (CPD) on Urban Search and Rescue (USAR). Volunteers from EFRU, CPD, Red Cross (Malta) and Soccorsi Speciali – Edelweiss (Italy) participated and worked together in various rescue scenarios prepared by the CPD Course Director–Mr.JohnGera assisted by other appointed officials from the department.

The recently renovated K9 USAR Section premises at Ta’ Kandja were a hive of activity with more than 30 volunteers from the mentioned rescue teams training hard in theCPDsimulation disaster area. Rescue drills were also carried out at ‘Wied Babu’ limits of Zurrieq.

The course, which was the first of its kind in Malta, was initiated on Thursday 10th February 2011 and saw the participants simulate a natural disaster in Tunisia. With no food and very little water, for the first day, the rescuers worked on various different scenarios simulating the rescue of trapped live casualties and the extrication of fatalities. These simulations were conducted after the participants followed various lectures on dealing with the ‘On Site Operations Coordination Centre’ (OSOCC) and the ‘Local Emergency Management Agency’ (LEMA). The OSOCC and LEMA are the two main ‘on site’ contacts with whom international rescue teams must coordinate during international rescue operations, such as the ‘Haiti earthquake’ of January 2010. Basic principles on efficient management of international rescue operations were delved into – and specific protocol details were also explained to those present.

K9 expert trainer and Chairman of the ‘National Search And Rescue Dogs Association’ (NSARDA) Mr. Harold Barrows contributed to the course by giving intensive training to the K9 handlers. This was aimed to assist the handlers in working more effectively with their canine partners to help locate casualties and victims in disaster areas.

A well organized and much deserved barbecue gave a tasteful ending to this vigorous three day course with the presentation of certificates by Director of CPD Mr. Patrick Murgo. During a short speech Mr. Murgo outlined the importance of such programmes and how he plans to give more specialised training to those interested in helping others. He also expressed his gratitude to all those who were involved in the organisation and participation thus making this first course a success.