Operations Centre (24 hours)
Urban Search and Rescue
The Disaster Response Department of the Hellenic Rescue Team has been active in urban search and rescue (USAR) operations since 1994, taking the form it has today in 2003.
The purpose of the DRD is its immediate and coordinated response during mass and extensive disasters in order to carry out search and rescue missions, as well as the continuous training of its members.
The Department is organised as follows:
It should be noted that the Director is selected by the Board of the HRT from among the team’s active members, based on the criteria of his or her practical contribution to the team, as well as their leadership skills. The remaining members are proposed by the Director and approved by the Board.
The operational sector of the Department comes under the Operations Division of the HRT, while the HRT’s Training Division is responsible for the training sector.
URBAN SEARCH AND RESCUE ORGANISATIONAL STRUCTURE
The HRT’s Disaster Response Department is in close cooperation with United Nations’ International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG).
The Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team is staffed by members with the following specialisations, independently of its strengths and operational involvement:
The DRD’s long experience, its advanced technological equipment and the excellent (and continuously updated) training of its members allows it to operate completely successfully wherever it is called upon, in the following areas:
1) natural disasters response
As regards the training of HRT’s members, it should be noted that this includes, in addition to continuous training in the basic skills of a rescuer (provision of first aid, climbing techniques, orientation, etc.), specialised training such as:
• techniques to locate victims entrapped in collapsed structures,
In order to familiarise the rescuers with real situations, preparedness exercises are held regularly on a local or nationwide level, in collaboration either with the local branches or with other bodies, such as the Fire Service, emergency services (EMAK), municipalities, other voluntary organisations, etc.
- Thassos Wildfire (2016)
- Turkey earthquake (2023)
The crowning achievement of all the HRT’s efforts, however, was the great earthquake in Haiti in 2010, when its members made every Greek proud by finding and rescuing 23-year-old Exantus, when all the other rescue teams had stopped looking for survivors.
The department has specialised equipment, specifically:
Among the future priorities and goals of the Department, in addition to strengthening the operational preparedness of its members (through continuous training and exercises), are:
Other relevant articles:
Hellenic Rescue Team
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Hellenic Rescue Team is a non-governmental organization, whose members participate in Search and Rescue missions on a voluntary basis since 1994.
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Operations Centre (24 hours):
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