In February this year, a 77-strong UK International Search and Rescue (ISAR) team was deployed to Turkey by the Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO).
The team included Watch Commander John Aitchison, Portlethen Training Centre, Crew Commander Steven Adams from MacAlpine Road Fire Station, Dundee, and firefighters Tony Armstrong and Keith Gauld from Aberdeen’s North Anderson Drive Fire Station.
The four firefighters have been presented with Commendations from SFRS Chief Officer Ross Haggart.
They were also invited to visit the Turkish Consulate in Edinburgh where the Consulate General of Turkey for Scotland thanked them for their efforts.
They discussed their role as an ISAR team, the training they undergo and the role the SFRS plays in the UK ISAR framework. The Consulate General also provided an update on the work that has since been carried out in his country.
The foursome also attended the King’s Garden Party at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh where the King approached them and asked about their role.
CC Steven Adams said: “To be recognised for our contributions in Turkey was a massive honour. The Chief Officer’s Commendation is a special award and one I know we are all proud to have been presented with. Although we deployed as a team of four to the earthquake, the SFRS UKISAR team members that remained at home continued to support us and more importantly support our families whilst we were away, and we would like to thank them for this.”
UK ISAR Team Manager for Scotland, DACO Bruce Farquharson said: “For the entire Team to drop their normal lives to rush to a disaster zone and face some of life’s harshest realities, is humbling and inspirational. Our four team members did a fantastic job and I’m extremely proud of them. This recognition is absolutely deserved. It reflects the high esteem they are held in and the service they provide.
“Their monthly commitment to maintain the highest skill level means they are ready to be deployed at a moment’s notice and ensures we continue to play an integral part in the UK’s support to disaster response.
“While on deployment, the wider UKISAR Team provided excellent support to them and their families back home and illustrates how the Team works to support each other.”
It is estimated that at least 56,000 people lost their lives during a series of earthquakes that affected Turkey and Syria earlier this year.
The UK ISAR team spent 10 days in Turkey where 11 lives were saved as part of a huge search and rescue operation.