Three Essex firefighters deployed to Turkey to help with search and rescue operations
THREE firefighters from Essex have been deployed to Turkey to assist with the search and rescue operations following the devastating earthquakes.
Group manager Scott Meekings, crew manager Bryn Jones and watch manager Steve Smith at Essex Fire and Rescue Service will be working alongside colleagues from other UK fire and rescue services.
The trio have joined a 77-strong International Search and Rescue (UKISAR) team made up of firefighters and staff from 14 fire and rescue services, deployed through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
The death toll across Turkey and Syria has already exceeded 11,000.
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Group manager Scott Meekings said: “The scenes in Turkey and Syria are truly devastating.
“After seeing the reports of the first earthquake on Monday morning, we started to prepare ourselves that we might be deployed.
“We couldn’t believe what we were seeing being reported on the news.
“The number of people killed, seriously injured, and missing is shocking.
“After a long journey we are pleased to be finally here. Our immediate priority is to set up our equipment and get everything in order so we can get to work in the places most in need.
“Helping people in their time of need is what we do – it is what all firefighters do every day, and it is what we will be doing here.”
The team will use their specialist skills and a range of technical equipment as they join a wider collective effort in a bid to save lives.
They will also be supporting other emergency service teams already in the area.
The UK International Search and Rescue team will be completely self-sufficient 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.
UK International Search and Rescue have specialist search equipment including seismic listening devices, concrete cutting and breaking equipment, propping, and shoring tools, listening and heavy lifting equipment.