Fire and Rescue NSW preparing large shipment deployment to Türkiye earthquake zone

Fire and Rescue NSW logistics experts have packed 22-tonnes of critical supplies and high-tech equipment ahead of the organisation’s deployment to the Türkiye earthquake zone.

Federal authorities yesterday authorised the deployment of 72 emergency service personnel from NSW including 52 FRNSW firefighters, specially trained in Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) operations and disaster response.

The firefighters will need to be self-sufficient when they arrive and are packing everything from ration packs and fire extinguishers to tents and bandages ahead of the deployment.

The supplies measure 93 cubic metres, enough to fill two semi-trailers or four 20m shipping containers.

Their technical equipment includes search cameras (snake cams) to use in the rubble to find trapped survivors; laser building monitoring systems which can alert rescue workers when rubble moves; and seismic listening devices, which can detect further tremors and any survivors tapping for help.

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The firefighters are also packing a large amount of tools, including jackhammers, cutting equipment, bolt cutters, chainsaws and drills.

Additional equipment packed and ready for deployment includes desalination units for clean water, first aid kits, lighting systems, stretchers and respirators.

“We are virtually taking a hardware store over with us,” FRNSW Assistant Commissioner – Capability David Lewis said.

“We are well-drilled at these types of missions and we know we have to stay self-sufficient and not be a burden to local emergency services or communities when we land,” Assistant Commissioner Lewis said.

“This gear will go wherever our firefighters are deployed…we have everything they’ll need from climbing harnesses and portable radios to triple-A batteries and notepads.”

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The firefighters have a reputation of being among the world’s best USAR operators, as recognised by the United Nations.

FRNSW trains its disaster technicians on a special rubble pile prop that resembles an earthquake scene at its Emergency Services Academy at Orchard Hills in Sydney’s west.

The prop was installed four years ago after FRNSW examined a range of similar facilities around the world and identified the best features to incorporate.

The building collapse training environment includes piles of concrete and metal, crushed cars and even a train carriage buried in rubble.

“We have used our past disaster deployments to places like Christchurch, Japan and Indonesia to create a highly realistic environment in which to train our people, which means they’re prepared for anything, anytime, anywhere,” Assistant Commissioner Lewis said.