On 9 December 2021, the Search and Rescue (SnR) project conveyed its third in a series of open webinars tackling key issues related to Search and Rescue (SAR) operations. After the Clustering Webinar on New Technologies for First Responders (December 2020) and People with Disabilities in SAR operations (March 2021), the consortium addressed SAR operations during the recent wildfires and floods that affected Greece and Germany around the summer 2021 period, gathering more than 100 participants from Europe and beyond.

“This webinar was a great opportunity to raise awareness about SnR and some of the tools that we are developing. We also wanted to make use of the recent wildfires and floods that occurred in Europe and provide a platform for practitioners to exchange their experience in dealing with these crises. As a project that develops new technologies for SAR operations, it is always extremely valuable to hear perspectives from practitioners that are working on the ground.” Christos NTANOS, NTUA (Project Coordinator)

Disasters are striking Europe with increased frequency and intensity. First responders are facing heavy floods, megafires and earthquakes which may result in citizens being trapped, namely under debris or collapsed structures. First Responders who engage in Search and Rescue operations must therefore be equipped with cutting edge tools and equipments to be able to save lives but also guarantee their own safety during missions. This is the objective of the Search and Rescue project, a EU funded project composed of 28 partners from 12 European countries (find out more at www.search-and-rescue.eu).

The webinar was an occasion to raise awareness about the project and provide an update on its implementation to interested stakeholders as well as the general public. It provided a platform for national and international practitioners’ organizations involved in SAR operations, to share their experiences in facing the recent disasters in Europe. ISAR Germany and the German Red Cross discussed the floods which affected Germany, the challenges encountered and technologies that were used. On the other hand, PUI, EPOMEA, EPAYPS PROECO discussed their experience and involvement in the wildfires that struck Greece at the same period, with a particular emphasis on Evia island. External intervention was also highlighted and the positive role of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism in facilitating such actions.

The webinar material including its recording and the presentation files are openly available on our website www.search-and-rescue.eu.