Search and rescue teams from around the world travelled to Hampshire to take part in a major international exercise aimed at improving FRS response to earthquakes.

UKISAR (UK International Search and Rescue) used Fort Widley in Portsmouth to recreate an earthquake similar to those recently experienced in New Zealand, Haiti and Japan.

Teams from the USA, Australia, Belgium and the United Arab Emirates joined 15 UK search and rescue teams across the four-day exercise.

Group Manager Pete Crook from Hampshire Fire and Rescue,  who co-ordinated the exercise, said: "We have received extremely positive feedback from all the participants on how realistic the scenarios were and how much valuable experience they gained from the exercise.

"We were able to field test a new UN coordination system fully for the first time, which was very successful and we picked up some good learning points to improve this further.

"We achieved all our objectives from the exercise and this will strengthen our worldwide rescue response in the future."

Among the international participants were a specialist coordination team from Fairfax County and LA County in the USA and a 35-strong search and rescue team from Belgium.

In total, more than 200 personnel were involved in the full-scale exercise at Fort Widley with UKISAR hoping to use the experience gained to guide future responses to major international disasters.

Posted 21/11/2012 by