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KFRS rescue team visits Leogane, returns to Port-au-Prince

The KFRS rescue team visited the devastated town of Leogane
Kent Firefighters are working with the UK ISAR mission in Haiti
Firefighters from the Kent Fire and Rescue Service, who are working with the UK International Search and Rescue (ISAR) mission in Haiti, have returned to Port-au-Prince.

The team visited the town of Leogane which is approximately 25 miles west of Port Au Prince and is much nearer to the epicentre. Reports indicate that 80 to 90 per cent of the town has been destroyed.

While there, the UK ISAR team - which includes six Kent firefighters - assisted the air evacuation of two seriously injured people.

John Mazzey is KFRS's team leader in Haiti. He said: "Rescuing some survivors at the weekend has given the team renewed motivation in getting trapped people out alive and we are all aware that time is critical over the next few days to find further survivors.

"We are now back in Port-au-Prince to check a few remaining areas. This is a multi-national response and we are pleased at how well the UK team, including our firefighters, has performed overall."

The team comprises of personnel from Kent, Greater Manchester, West Sussex, West Midlands, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, Hampshire and Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Services. It flew out to Haiti on Wednesday last week after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake killed thousands of people.

In October last year, a UK ISAR deployment of firefighters, including a team from KFRS, was called upon to recover earthquake victims in Indonesia.

"This is a multi-national response and we are pleased at how well the UK team, including our firefighters, has performed overall"

Based in Maidstone, the search and rescue team has been selected from existing KFRS staff and is trained to use specialist equipment capable of handling a range of major emergencies.

As well as responding to UK ISAR deployments, the team also forms part of KFRS's Urban Search and Rescue response which has capability including 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.

Any deployment outside of the UK will not affect KFRS's search and rescue capability.

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