Specialist teams from Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (MFRS) are among those being deployed to the Republic of Türkiye to assist with search and rescue operations following the devastating earthquakes.
The 77-strong International Search and Rescue (UKISAR) team is made up of firefighters and staff from Merseyside, Cheshire, Essex, Greater Manchester, Hampshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, London, Mid and West Wales, Scotland, South Wales and West Midlands.
Five members of MFRS’ search and rescue team will be among those providing specialist technical support and expertise where it is needed most. A team of special search and rescue dogs - including one from Merseyside – has also been deployed.
The team has been deployed through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, following a request from the Turkish government.
UKISAR are able to utilise specialist search equipment including seismic listening devices to detect and locate people. The team also has concrete cutting and breaking equipment, propping and shoring tools and heavy lifting equipment.
MFRS Chief Fire Officer Phil Garrigan said: “The situation in Türkiye and Syria is devastating to see, with the number of those killed and seriously injured sadly continuing to rise.
“We have the skills, the expertise and the equipment to make a real difference and I am incredibly proud that we and other Fire & Rescue Services across the country are able to step up and offer this vital support - it will be invaluable in helping the emergency services teams already working tirelessly in the disaster-stricken area. Helping people in their time of need is what we do in the fire & rescue service and that desire to help goes far wider than our borders here in Merseyside.
“The team of 77 firefighters and staff will be able to use a range of technical expertise, kit and equipment in areas where it is needed most, over the next 14 days, in a bid to save lives.”
UKISAR – for which MFRS is lead authority - is formed from 14 UK FRSs and is on permanent standby to mobilise and assist when requested by disaster-affected countries. It always deploys as an official UK government team once a request has been made for assistance.
The team responds primarily to overseas urban search and rescue emergencies on behalf of the UK.
Any UKISAR team deployed is self-sufficient upon arrival and provides its own food, water, shelter, sanitation, communications and all necessary equipment to undertake search and rescue operations for up to 14 days.
This is to ensure no additional burden is placed upon a country already suffering demands on its resources following a sudden onset disaster.
All UKISAR staff are trained to use specialist kit and the equipment being taken will ensure the team has the ability and capacity to lift, cut and remove concrete and rubble from collapsed structures.