Scottish Firefighters join Turkey Rescue Operation

Four firefighters from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) have joined a rescue operation which has been deployed to the Republic of Turkiye.

They will be assisting with the search and rescue operations following a series of devastating earthquakes where they will be providing specialist technical support and expertise where it is needed most.

The firefighters from SFRS are: Watch Commander (WC) John Aitchison from SFRS Training Centre in Portlethen, Crew Commander (CC) Steven Adams, MacAlpine Road Fire Station, Dundee and firefighters Tony Armstrong and Keith Gauld from Aberdeen’s North Anderson Drive Fire Station.

They have joined a 77-strong International Search and Rescue (UKISAR) team which is made up of firefighters and staff from 14 fire and rescue services, deployed through the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO).

The team is made up from fire services in: Cheshire, Essex, Greater Manchester, Hampshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, London, Mid and West Wales, Merseyside, Scotland, South Wales and West Midlands.

WC Aitchison and CC Steven Adams have been involved in previous search and rescue missions. They were deployed as part of a team sent to Nepal in 2015 following an earthquake near Kathmandu.

Bruce Farquharson is Deputy Assistant Chief Officer for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, and UKISAR Team Manager in Scotland. He said: “The scenes in Turkey and Syria are devastating and our thoughts are firmly with the families, friends and communities who have been affected by these tragic earthquakes.

“Our 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 and they will also be supporting other emergency service teams already in the area.”

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

Any UKISAR team deployed is self-sufficient upon arrival 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.

All UKISAR staff are trained to use specialist kit and the equipment being taken will ensure the team has the ability and capacity to lift, cut and remove concrete and rubble from collapsed structures.