A devastating earthquake of magnitude 7.1 according to the Richter scale in the canton of Lucerne is the scenario of this year’s INSARAG Earthquake Simulation Exercise (SIMEX) 2022 “Countdown” exercise in Kriens, Switzerland. From June 20-24, 13 USAR (Urban Search and Rescue) teams from around the world will train for emergencies. Among them were three participants from @fire. Together with the colleagues of the Samaritan Austria - Rapid Response Team (SA-RRT), the @fire provides a joint so-called skeleton team in the area of management and operations.
Not only the organization of search and rescue of buried victims, exploration methods in affected areas and international coordination structures after an earthquake are trained. Above all, cooperation and communication between the various international teams and the local institutions and authorities are at the heart of SIMEX.
The large-scale simulation exercise is organized by the Swiss Civil Protection or the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and Swiss Rescue in cooperation with INSARAG (International Search and Rescue Advisory Group) and UN OCHA (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) and is completed by a large number of participants, role players and exercise management personnel.
Due to its special location in the Alps, Switzerland is particularly active seismically. Due to the increased hazard situation, regular international earthquake disaster drills are held here. In the current SIMEX, @fire’s Light USAR team members also train operational management on an interactive simulator and deepen technical knowledge with the help of hands-on workshops. By using modern VR technologies (Virtual Reality), the exercise scenarios are depicted close to reality.
Training and exercises increase skills and competencies and contribute significantly to the efficient management of a disaster. To that end, @fire’s Light USAR team trains regularly to save as many lives as possible in the event of an emergency.