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Kent, UK fire and rescue team deployed to Indonesia

A FEMA image showing the effects of the recent tsunami in Indonesia
A FEMA image showing the effects of the recent tsunami in Indonesia
UK USAR team deployed to aid relief efforts

Kent Fire and Rescue Service's Urban and Search and Rescue (USAR) Team is set to join the humanitarian relief effort in Indonesia.

This specialist team of eight staff is among nine fire and rescue service units from the UK which have been deployed to fly from Gatwick today to help in the aftermath of Wednesday's earthquake which killed at least 1,000 people and injured hundreds.

USAR Team Leader John Mazzey said: "We will be using exactly the same equipment that we train with and use in Kent so we are ready and well prepared. One of the team's biggest requirements is patience to deal with the many obstacles that can arise from such a major, devastating incident like this."

Joining Kent are teams from the West Midlands, Grampian, Essex, Cheshire, West Sussex, South Wales, Leicestershire and Hampshire - a total of 64 UK personnel.

KFRS's USAR team is one of 20 set up nationwide as part of the Government's New Dimensions programme, aimed at providing the UK fire and rescue service with the capability to respond to a variety of different incidents including: chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) events, search and rescue scenarios, major flooding and transport incidents.

Based in Maidstone, the 29-strong team has been selected from existing KFRS staff and is trained to use specialist equipment capable of handling a range of major emergencies, including terrorist attacks and natural disasters.

USAR capability includes kit to lift, cut and remove concrete and rubble from collapsed structures along with sophisticated equipment for finding casualties, including special cameras and listening devices.

The tools they use can penetrate reinforced concrete and metal to gain access to casualties and the use of shoring equipment allows team members to maintain a safe working position during rescues. While in Indonesia, the USAR teams will use a central UK cache of equipment.

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