‘Advances in Search and Rescue Operations’ event
The “Advances in Search and Rescue Operations” event, organized by UKEMED GLOBAL LTD (UGL), was held on April 20th, 2023, at the Hilton Nicosia hotel in Cyprus. The event was dedicated to the European Horizon project called “Search and Rescue”, which is composed of 28 partners from 12 European countries, including practitioners specialized in search and rescue operations, research institutes, and industrial partners. At the heart of the Search and Rescue project is the COncORDE platform, a highly interoperable and open architecture platform designed to improve search and rescue operations in Europe. The project has been tested through a series of large-scale pilot scenarios, and the ‘Advances in Search and Rescue Operations’ event provided an opportunity for the project partners to share their findings and discuss the future of search and rescue operations in Europe, Asia and Africa.
At the beginning of the event, the Minister of Justice and Public Order, Mrs. Anna Koukkides-Prokopiou, gave a welcoming speech and talked about the importance of the first phase of the government’s action plan to prevent forest fires, which is expected to be completed by May 1st, 2023. As she explained, the second phase of the plan, which will include advanced sensors and cameras covering residential and industrial areas, is expected to begin in 2024. In her address on behalf of President of Cyprus Nikos Christodoulides, Mrs. Koukkides – Procopiou also said that the newly elected government of Cyprus has placed on the top of its priorities the continued strengthening and upgrading of all government bodies and services involved in search and rescue operations, such as the Cyprus Fire Service, including the Cyprus Border Marine Police, the Cyprus Police Aviation Unit and the Civil Defence. “I am sure that today’s event will provide an opportunity to acknowledge the importance of advance technology in the field of search and rescue, to share their experiences and lessons learned in order to be able to provide firefighting and rescue teams with all the necessary tools for the execution of their mission,” concluded the Minister.
The event was attended by a wide range of stakeholders, including practitioners specialized in search and rescue operations, the private sector (Leonardo, Italy), Ministries and Embassies’ representatives from Cyprus, research institutes, and industrial partners. UKEMED GLOBAL LTD (UGL), Konnektable Technologies Ltd. (KT), Les Pompiers de l’urgence international (PUI), Escuela Española de Salvamento y Detección con Perros (ESDP), the Hellenic Rescue Team (HRT) and Association of officers and sub-officers with university degrees of Hellenic Fire Corps (E.P.A.Y.P.S) partners from the SnR consortium were present. Specifically, at our event, we had the honor of hosting the Minister of Justice and Public Order of Cyprus, Mrs. Anna Koukkides-Procopiou, the Deputy Minister of Shipping, Mrs. Liana Tanou, Mrs. Koula Sofianou from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as representatives from Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Health. Representatives from the Embassies of France, Spain and China, in Cyprus were present, as well. Furthermore, executives from the Police Department of Cyprus, Cyprus Fire Service and the Commander of the National Guard honored us with their presence.
All speakers shared their expertise and insights on the latest developments in search and rescue operations. The event included workshops on innovative technologies, training methods and management tools in the areas of rescue and disaster management, as well as the presentation of different case studies from international rescue teams. “We were delighted to be able to bring together such a diverse range of stakeholders to discuss the future of search and rescue operations in Europe,” said Takis Kotis, the Chief Executive Officer of UKEMED GLOBAL, Cyprus who was hosting the event. “The Search and Rescue project has the potential to make a real difference, and we hope that the ‘Advances in Search and Rescue Operations’ event will inspire others to get involved and support our work.”
Overall, the event was really successful in bringing together end users, experts and practitioners from various fields to discuss and showcase the latest advancements in search and rescue operations, which will undoubtedly contribute to improving the effectiveness and efficiency of these critical services. Also, the feedback from the representatives of the Ministries and relevant agencies was very positive and individual follow-up appointments have been arranged for further discussions.