Ten Hampshire firefighters have now returned from Nepal after being deployed as part of the UK International Search and Rescue (UK-ISAR) team to help the country recover after the devastating earthquake on 25 April.
Members of the UK-ISAR team, including Hampshire firefighters, focused efforts into search and rescue, travelling into remote areas to carry out needs assessments and they managed to stabilise hospital buildings so that they could be put back into use. Lee Giffard, who deployed as part of Hampshire’s urban search and rescue team said: “When we arrived it was just a scene of devastation. There were lots of people who were injured and so many who had lost their homes. ”Our first priority was to search for and rescue anyone we could – you live in hope that you might find someone. We met local people who were very welcoming, and took comfort in us being there. They were extremely humble and seemed to be resilient to what had happened.” The Department for International Development deployed a team of more than 60 search and rescue responders and medical experts to support the relief effort in Nepal. The Hampshire team left the UK on Sunday 26 April and have returned in the last few days. The UK-ISAR team took with them four search and rescue dogs, a medical support team, a hazardous materials specialist and more than 11 tonnes of kit which included torches, axes, rope, search cameras, stretchers and tents.
Tim Marsh, who was also deployed as part of Hampshire’s urban search and rescue team said: “It’s such a privilege to be part of Hampshire’s USAR team. We have specialist training which allows us to respond to extraordinary incidents here in Hampshire and other places around the world. It’s training you hope you never have to use, but when you do, you just hope it makes a difference.” Hampshire’s urban search and rescue team have previoulsy been deployed to the earthquakes in Haiti and New Zealand, and the Tsunami in Japan.