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Press Release - Crews deliver successful disaster relief courses in Nepal
Posted on 22/01/2019

Throughout 2018, Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) based at Station 60 in Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service (DSFRS), organised a number of successful fund raising and awareness events which resulted in a generous amount of money and equipment being donated. In total, £5067 was raised including a grant of £1,500 from SAFE South West. Also, two truck-loads of fire and rescue equipment as well as donated clothing and toys were transported to Nepal.

Much of the equipment donated was part of the old National Resilience Mass Decontamination programme and old DSFRS firefighting equipment which would otherwise have had to be disposed of at great expense to the service. This will now be used in a country where this equipment is really needed.

Firefighter George Bartlett said: On the 7th November, our team of five USAR technicians, joined by John and Richard Monaghan headed out to Nepal to the Gurkha camp in Kathmandu. A couple of days later, a team of four International Search and Rescue (ISAR) instructors and a Hazardous Area Response Team paramedic from Manchester arrived supported by Operation Florian.

In the first two weeks the team put together and instructed a basic USAR/disaster relief course which was attended by members of the Nepali Arm’s rescue battalions, British Gurkhas and some members of the Nepali fire service.

Techniques taught

The course was aimed at teaching the delegates some basic techniques on the following subjects, with particular relevance to the type of incidents that they would be most likely to attend:

Incident Management - Effective management of an incident and resources in a disaster situation

Technical Search - Searching techniques using personal and equipment available to locate casualties

Shoring - Stabilising unsafe areas of a damaged structure for search and rescue operations:

Safe Working at Height - Use of ropes, harnesses and other equipment in order to safely perform rescues at height:

Lifting and Moving - Use of equipment and techniques to move heavy objects

Breaking and Breaching - Various techniques for accessing areas behind solid objects

Confined Space - Some really basic safety techniques for dealing with confined spaces

George continued: "The two week course was really well received and all who attended learnt really useful skills. The final day involved an exercise which tested everyone’s new abilities and this was a huge success. These capabilities and techniques will now be cascaded to other members of the delegates’ organisations. It is our intention to provide a follow-up course going into more depth in the various disciplines towards the end of 2019. Those instructing on the course found it extremely rewarding and a real opportunity to pass on information and techniques to a new set of individuals that deal with such diverse risks using very different equipment to what we are used to."

Orphanage in the Sindupulchowk region

The excess funds raised for the project had been ear-marked for donation to an Orphanage in the Sindupulchowk region. The Orphanage was set up following the disastrous earthquake of 2015 which killed nearly 9000 people and left so many families torn apart. Some of our team made the long journey to visit the Orphanage and donate supplies which were purchased with the donations.

At the end of January a volunteer team of 3 crew from Station 60 are heading back out to Nepal for 10 days in order to sort and distribute equipment along with specific training. John Monaghan and a small team will stay on for a further 10 days in order to deliver the donated clothing and toys to the Orphanage and to present some Fire Safety training and donated smoke alarms in Mechi Nagar.

Thanks go to: Gregory Distribution - Free handling of two truckloads of equipment which were transported from Station 60 to Bicester MOD site. Local primary schools - Fundraising through mufti days and donations. Sidmouth Bike studios/Hays travel - fund raining day in Sidmouth. Taunton NHS and Braydon donated resuscitation manikins, Plymouth Argil for donating football kit, Darts farm for allowing us to use their premises for a fundraising event and of course all the individuals who made generous donations, both financial and otherwise.

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