The Moldovan search and rescue team received support from its Ukrainian counterpart (heavy USAR – HUSAR Ukraine). Joint Moldovan-Ukrainian recertification exercises INSARAG were organized by iHELP Institute Foundation and took place in Kozyn near Kiev, Ukraine in early September 2019.
Representatives of the General Inspectorate for Emergency Situations of Moldova’s Ministry of Internal Affairs (GIES) also took part in the exercises. In this way the foundation implemented the project titled “Developing the potential of Moldova’s search and rescue team in line with UN standards” which was funded by Polish Aid. The programme of the exercises was prepared by the Ukrainian side.
The agenda of the exercises included work guidelines for the international team, assessment criteria and the scope of points on the so-called checklist, as well as communication among the participants (EXCON, the USAR team, assessors) with the use of the Virtual OSOCC (VO) platform in the ‘simulator’ part.
The simulation event seemed very realistic, and for amateurs – even terrifying. The first information about a fictional earthquake came out through the platform on the night of 4-5 September 2019. This was the moment when 36-hour exercises were launched, starting with putting the team on alert and mobilizing it for search and rescue efforts abroad. Early in the morning the proper phase of practical exercises began that included separate stages of an international mission. A representative of the foundation and a Romanian expert provided Moldovan participants with a live analysis of individual phases of the process as well as mistakes they had noticed. They also discussed measures that could be implemented in Moldova.
Participation in the exercises enabled the Moldovan side to observe the work of the team of experts which is of key importance from a formal point of view, for its role is to assess checklist points on the so-called IEC/R Checklist. Moldovans could also do a self-assessment in terms of their team certification. Additionally, one day was set aside for the presentation of legal and organizational aspects of the activities of search and rescue teams, the decision-making process, coordination structures, as well as financing, training, and staff selection. Such issues will be of great use for Moldova in developing its own rescue potential in line with uniform international criteria, while taking into consideration the country’s specificity.