December 2020

This newsletter keeps you updated on the latest activities of the Search & Rescue (S&R) project and informs you on news and activities related to Search and Rescue operations. On behalf of the consortium, we hope you enjoy reading this issue.


The Search and Rescue Project

28 partners join force to enhance first responders' capabilities in SAR operations


Search & Rescue is an EU project funded under the horizon 2020 programme and officially launched in July 2020. The project will design, implement and test through a series of large scale pilot scenarios a highly interoperable open architecture platform for first responders enhancing their decision making and providing a dynamic common operational picture of the crisis. The S&R platform will allow to easily incorporate next generation solutions and equipment, significantly improving the timeliness and accuracy of Search & Rescue operations. The consortium is composed of 28 partners spanning accross Europe, including organisations specialised in Search & Rescue operations which will directly benefit from the project outcomes.

S&R Successfuly Organises its first Clustering Webinar

On 3rd December 2020, the S&R Consortium Successfully conducted its first of a series of Clustering Events. This webinar addressed the topic of End-User Requirements for First Responders' Technologies and gathered more than 120 participants from 7 projects working on innovative technologies for first responders (S&R/ASSISTANCE/INGENIOUS/RESPOND-A/RESPONDRONE/SIXTHSENSE/CURSOR). Beyond the topic addressed, the event was a great opportunity to connect with other projects and get a glimpse of their respective work and progress. The next Clustering Webinar will be organised around spring 2021 and address the topic of SAR operations for people with disabilities. Stay tuned!


PSCE Online Conference

Public Safety Communication Europe (PSCE) is an S&R partner and will organise its next conference in an online format on 19-20 January 2021. The conference is free of charge and will address the following themes:

  • Useful, usable, trustworthy Artificial Intelligence systems for PPDR
  • Cybersecurity and Resilience
  • Climate Emergency
  • New Space Applications: What Future Use Cases for PPDR?

Earthquake Simulation in Italy

On 30th January 2021, S&R partner Pompier de l'Urgence Internationale (PUI) will participate to an earthquake simulation in Italy mobilising around 60 rescuers. The simulation will last 24hours and simulate a complete SAR operation including USAR coordination cell, search dogs, emergency shoring and drones.

Webinar on Avalanche Awareness

S&R partner Hellenic Rescue Team (HRT) is hosting an avalanche awareness webinar addressed to people who visit the mountains during winter period and are either professionals or recreationists. The webinar’s objective is to train mountaineers about the proper preparation, the right equipment and the search and rescue procedures that should be followed in cases of avalanches, according to HRT’s great experience in mountain incidents. HRT trainers will present the provision of First Aid to people who were injured during such accidents and people who were involved in relative accidents will talk about their experience and present videos and photos.

The webinar will be held in Greek and take place mid-January.

The RESISTANT project

Konnektable’s CONCORDE v2.0 emergency management platform sits at the very core of yet another ambitious project. RESISTANT aims to significantly evolve the foundations of training of first responders. The aim is to build the first European Crisis Training Platform to train first responders. Konnektable Technologies Ltd. as a major technology provider in both S&R and RESISTANT will attempt to bring the two projects together to exchange know-how and expand even further their dissemination and communication activities. The RESISTANT project is expected to start early March.


SAR stories from our partners

SAR operation after the Beirut Explosion

At 4th of August, 18:08hrs local time, a warehouse containing large quantities of ammonium nitrate exploded in the port of Beirut. A subsequent blast caused widespread damage in more than 20 kilometers from the port area. More than 180 people were dead and 6,500 injured, while about 300,000 people were displaced from their homes. Health care centers, homes, and schools were severely damaged, causing a long-term impact on the lives of thousands of people. The explosion occurred during the fire attack by Beirut firefighters. Ten people were dead and missing among the firefighters. S&R partner FRA1 PUI FRANCE decided to deploy a USAR and medical team of 20 members as per requested from the Lebanese Government, two search dogs and two drones. A PCR test was performed before the departure, carried out by the team’s doctors and nurses. The operational objectives of the team were:

  • Search and location of the victims missing in the rubbles
  • Care and treatment support to the injured in Beirut hospitals
  • Risk mapping of the collapsed with a drone
  • Support of the international team coordination, set up by the UN

Arriving at Beirut Airport, the FRA1 PUI FRANCE Operations base was set up in the police premises adjacent to the Beirut fire station: the base's layout was quickly implemented, as well as the establishment of command, medical, K9 and logistics cells. Within minutes of the logistics installation, the rescue team was immediately engaged alongside the firefighters in the silo sector located 4 minutes from the base of operations. This sector was located in the epicenter of the explosion, in which the firefighters and first responders disappeared: 8 firefighters were still missing, 2 were found dead. The K9, medical and research teams were therefore engaged, by land but also by sea, given the difficulties of access. The ICMS coordination mechanism managed by INSARAG was also supplied with information to facilitate the coordination of international teams from 10 different countries.

The importance of Rescue Dogs in SAR operations

Rescue dogs and their handlers play a fundamental role in search and rescue operations as they are the first to explore the area in order to search for live victims and mark them so that the emergency teams can rescue them. About 90% of organizations that work with rescue dogs are made up of volunteers. This is due to the fact that the cost of training and maintaining a rescue dog is high compared to the number of times that they are going to participate in interventions. So this activity has been undertaken by non profit organizations and volunteer work, providing to professional teams the necessary help in search and rescue operations where there are not enough K9 teams to do an effective job, or where professional teams are non-existent.

In line with this approach, The Spanish School of Rescue and detection with dogs (ESDP) is an NGO founded in 1995 by a group of professionals aiming to work with search and rescue dogs. ESDP is partner in the S&R project and has become the first reference organization regarding the training of dog handlers in Spain, having created the first comprehensive training plan for groups of search and rescue dogs. It is a homogeneous and reliable method to instruct the canine trainers of all those rescue groups with dogs who wish to establish new units or improve the performance and operational capacity. Training activities are the focus of ESDP daily work which trains on a yearly basis more than 150 students belonging to the Police, Armed Forces, Civil Protection, Firefighters, and NGOs.

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This Project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 882897