Morocco earthquake: two firefighters and search and rescue dog join international effort

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Two firefighters and a search and rescue dog from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) have joined an international team as part of the UK Government's response to the Morocco earthquake.

K9 handler Crew Commander Gary Carroll and Coorie, based at Portlethen, have departed along with Watch Commander Gavin Brown, based in Dundee, as part of the UK International Search and Rescue Team (ISAR) deployed to Morocco through the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO).

The UK has scrambled a team of 62 search and rescue specialists and four search dogs and rescue equipment, as well as a medical assessment team.

This is Coorie's first deployment since graduating earlier this year from a training and assessment course provided by the National Fire Chiefs Council. This means that the two-year-old Malinois Belgian Shephard can operate as part of the UK ISAR and can help search in collapsed structures.

SFRS Deputy Assistant Chief Officer Bruce Farquharson is the UK ISAR Team Manager in Scotland. He said: “Our thoughts are with all those affected by the devastating earthquake in Morocco and upon arrival there our team will be ready to join the wider effort to help as many people as they can with their specialist skills.

“Crew Commander Carroll and Watch Commander Brown will of course now be supported by Coorie who will be able to provide additional help to them, the UK ISAR team and the emergency services already in place in Morocco."

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said: “The UK Government has sent immediate support to Morocco including a team of 62 search and rescue specialists and four rescue dogs to assist with the rescue effort.

“I remain in contact with Foreign Minister Bourita and offer my deepest sympathies to the people of Morocco after this tragic event."

This is the second time in 2023 that SFRS has deployed firefighters to a disaster zone.

In February, Watch Commander John Aitchison, Crew Commander Steven Adams and Firefighters Tony Armstrong and Keith Gauld were part of the operation in Turkey.

The UK ISAR team responds primarily to overseas urban search and rescue emergencies on behalf of the UK Government.

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