Greater Manchester firefighters fly out to Turkey to join international disaster response

FIREFIGHTERS from Greater Manchester have joined international rescue efforts in Turkey after two devastating earthquakes hit the southern region of the country and northern Syria, killing thousands of people.

Four firefighters from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) flew to Turkey this morning (Tuesday 7 February) as part of the UK International Search and Rescue Team (UK-ISAR), a volunteer service made up of specialists from 15 fire and rescue services who are deployed to humanitarian incidents or disasters anywhere in the world.

The GMFRS team includes Ramsbottom Station Manager Martin Foran, Firefighter David Hedgecock from Ashton, and Firefighter Steven Pennington from Leigh.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Barry Moore said:

“Our thoughts go out to the many thousands across Turkey and Syria who have tragically lost loved ones and livelihoods in these earthquakes, and to the emergency responders working to locate and rescue survivors. We know that those rescue efforts are taking place in challenging winter conditions, compounding what is already a very difficult operation.

“Four of our firefighters have now arrived in Turkey and will rapidly be deployed to assist search and rescue operations in the affected areas. As part of the UK-ISAR team, they are trained in the use of specialist skills and equipment and ready to respond to any humanitarian disaster that takes place anywhere in the world.”

Working as part of UK-ISAR, GMFRS firefighters have previously been deployed to respond to floods in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2014, the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in 2011, and the earthquake that hit Haiti in 2010.

In October 2021 GMFRS hosted a UKISAR training exercise at the Training and Safety Centre in Bury, designed to simulate the effects of an earthquake and test UK crews’ urban search and rescue capabilities. The exercise involved more than 70 personnel from across the country, with crews confronted by collapsed buildings, displaced people, trapped and injured casualties and other challenging scenarios.

07/02/2023 17:58 PM