Upcoming Conference – May 2017

April 4, 2017 in General

May is the month of new life, as it offers the perfect climate for beautiful plants and flowers to flourish; but in 2017 there is more meaning to this lovely month. May will be bringing with it more exciting times for the Emergency Fire & Rescue Unit (EFRU) which is working relentlessly to organise a day conference for more than hundred and fifty volunteer rescuers from all over Europe and beyond. A first of its kind that has been made possible thanks to a number of individuals within the EFRU who, through their hard work and determination, have managed to tap the European Erasmus+ Fund totalling 156,405 Euro.

Ever since its formation back in 2006, the EFRU always had a vision: it wanted to standardise rescue training amongst European Volunteer Teams to make it more possible for them to deploy and save lives when disaster strikes. A very challenging dream that has managed to become reality thanks to dedication, perseverance and sacrifice of a number of people. The first step was the formation of a ‘networking task force’ that analysed and conducted background checks on a number of teams whom the members thought would fit the description. Once decided upon, each team was contacted and/or visited to discuss in-depth the reasoning behind the EFRU’s plan and thereon a number of training exercises took place. In May 2014, five European teams were prepared to join forces for one common cause – that of saving lives. In a ceremony held in Italy, teams from the hosting country Italy, Cyprus, Greece, Portugal and Malta signed and formed EVOLSAR, the European Association of Volunteer Rescue Teams. The organisation was an instant success, generating interest from a number of other volunteer teams across the globe. To date, teams from the UK, Hungary and Spain have already joined EVOLSAR and others from the United States, Russia, Serbia and France are working very closely with the organisation.

This led the EFRU into tapping and managing an Erasmus+ Strategic Partnerships fund for the development of a Rescue Manual which would serve as a reference; hence standardising the basic rescue training for the project partner teams and ultimately teams within EVOLSAR. The project is seeing teams of six nationalities; namely the UK, Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Portugal and Malta working hard for two whole years only to develop the aforementioned intellectual output which will be officially launched this coming May here in Malta.

So what are the EFRU’s plans for this coming May?

On the 12th and 13th of May the Emergency Fire & Rescue Unit will be making history, managing to get together teams from all over Europe to as far as the USA and Russia for a multi-scenario rescue simulation on the Friday morning and an Open Day for the Maltese public in the afternoon (where those present will be able to know more about EFRU, EVOLSAR and all those who form part of this organisation). A full day conference will follow on Saturday the 13th presenting the Rescue Manual together with various Key Note speeches from local authorities and foreign delegates incorporating the role and importance of the rescue volunteer.

Behind this programme is a huge amount of work and one cannot but thank those dedicated volunteers who have spent countless sleepless nights ensuring that the conference, the manual and all that comes with them are planned to perfection. Added gratitude goes to those volunteer teams who have believed in the EFRU’s dream and gave their fair share for the said manual to be completed.