Avon Fire & Rescue Service hosts search and rescue conference

Delegates from around the world are set to gather in Bristol this week to discuss search and rescue response to disasters.

Hosted by Avon Fire & Rescue Service and the voluntary group Search and Rescue Assistance in Disaster (SARAID), the five day conference will provide training and experience in the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) and On Site Operation and Co-ordination (OSOCC) concept.

INSARAG strives to save lives and reduce suffering following a disaster, improve efficiency among international search and rescue teams working in collapsed structures, develop internationally accepted procedures and systems and share best practices.

OSOCC is set up to help local authorities in a country affected by an earthquake or other disaster to co-ordinate relief. It is established as soon as possible by the first arriving international urban search and rescue team or United Nations Disaster Assessment and Co-ordination team.

Head of Operational Response for Avon Fire & Rescue Service, Area Manager Rob Davis, who is also a member of SARAID, said: “In recent years the fire and rescue service and SARAID have been called to assist with emergencies all over the world including earthquakes, flooding and landslides. It is imperative that we are prepared and can respond effectively, so this conference will be vital for planning our response.

“Delegates will be discussing recent responses to disasters, including the earthquakes in Haiti and Japan, sharing best practice, exploring the command, control and co-ordination of relief operations and discussing tools and techniques to ensure that teams involved in rescue response can work effectively and efficiently in the event of a disaster.”

It’s the first time that a conference of this nature has been hosted by a UK fire and rescue service. It will take place at the Severn Park Fire and Rescue Training Centre at Avonmouth, Bristol, from Monday 19 September.