Five firefighters from Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service (MAWW) and South Wales Fire and Rescue Service (SWFRS) have deployed to Turkey to assist with search and rescue operations following the devastating earthquakes.

A team of 77 UK International Search and Rescue (UKISAR) experts made up of firefighters and staff from 14 Fire and Rescue Services arrived in Turkey on Tuesday 7 February 2023. They will be providing specialist skills and equipment to help locate and rescue survivors and were deployed through the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

Deployed from South Wales are Crew Manager Emma Atcherley of Cardiff Central Station, Firefighter Luke Davison of Malpas Station and Firefighter Robert Buckley of Ely Station. Deployed from Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service are Head of Response Southern Division, Steve Davies and Watch Manager Phil Irvin of Haverfordwest Station, Western Division.

The team are equipped with specialist search equipment including seismic listening devices, concrete cutting and breaking equipment and propping and shoring tools.

Station Commander and ISAR Lead for South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Darren Cleaves, said:

“UKISAR is made up of 14 teams from Fire and Rescue Services across the UK and they respond to international disasters 24/7, 365 days a year.

As part of the UK team, three firefighters from South Wales have deployed to Turkey and have already commenced operations. They’ll be utilising their specialist knowledge and experience to support search and rescue efforts on the ground.

We are proud to be able to respond to emergencies and disasters around the world alongside our UK colleagues and our thoughts are with those affected by this tragedy.”

Chief Fire Officer, Roger Thomas of Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said:

“Our thoughts go out to the many thousands across Türkiye and Syria who have tragically lost loved ones following these earthquakes, and to the emergency responders working to locate and rescue survivors. We know that those rescue efforts are taking place in challenging winter conditions, compounding what is already a very difficult operation.

Two of our operational crew members have now flown out to Türkiye to join the UK team of search and rescue specialists. I have no doubt that Group Manager Steve Davies (Southern Division) and Watch Manager at Haverfordwest Station, Phil Irving, who are highly skilled in Command and Control and have experience of managing in these complex environments will make invaluable contributions to the search and rescue efforts.”

The UK government responded immediately to the Turkish Government’s request for support and will continue to assess the situation, preparing to provide further long-term assistance as needed.

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