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.