Hampshire Firecrews In Quake Training

Nearly 160 firefighters are taking part in a big disaster training exercise in Portsmouth.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service is hosting the UKISAR (UK International Search and Rescue) annual exercise at Fort Widley, Portsmouth between 15-18 November.  

The four day combined training and exercise event involves three operational international USAR teams working in a simulation of a major earthquake scenario.

Over 100 team members from 15 UK fire and rescue services, international participants including a team of 50 from Belgium, and a specialist coordination team of 6 from USA are participating. 

Observers from several countries and other UK fire and rescue services will also be there.

The National Co-ordinator for UK-ISAR who has organised the exercise is Group Manager Pete Crook from Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service.  He said:

“This is an ideal opportunity for Urban Search and Rescue teams to come together and practice in realistic and challenging conditions. 

"As personnel can be mobilised to a wide variety of international disaster zones it is critical that they have the opportunity to train in realistic scenarios such as this mock-up of the aftermath of an earthquake.

"We are also field testing a new UN coordination system for the first time which will hopefully improve worldwide rescue response in the future”

Teams will be based Fort Widley and will camp at the site for the duration of the exercise.