If you were in Fethiye last Thursday morning and anywhere near Beşkaza (the town square) you would be forgiven for thinking that something serious had happened.

Billowing smoke, people screaming and sirens blaring. Cries for help from people trapped in cars and buried in piles of rubble, both in and around the buildings overlooking the square. Had there been and explosion? Had the buildings collapsed?

People trapped in cars crushed by falling rubble
People trapped in cars crushed by falling rubble

In fact something serious was happening…

A crisis response exercise, focusing on an earthquake scenario, was being carried out by participants from fifteen services from Muğla Province. These types of crisis exercises are held regularly throughout the country, however it was the first one of it’s kind to be held in Fethiye.

The exercise was organised by Muğla Health Directorate and co-ordinated by UMKE (National Medical Rescue Team)

AKUT (Search and Rescue Association), AFAD ( Disaster and Emergency Management Authority) and Muğla 911 (Search and Rescue Research Association) were also involved.

Volunteers were drafted in to play the parts of the trapped and injured victims and the scene was set.

Earthquake hits Fethiye…

Suddenly the air was filled with thick orange smoke and sirens could be heard getting nearer. You could almost feel the earth moving and sense the buildings shaking.

Orange smoke billowed out of the buildings
Orange smoke billowed out of the buildings

The police and jandarma were first on the scene, closely followed by ambulances, medical crews and the fire brigade.

The fire brigade were prompt to arrive and make sure the building was safe from fire hazards for the rescue teams
The fire brigade were prompt to arrive and make sure the building was safe from fire hazards for the rescue teams

The teams from each department made a fast assessment of what was happening; police and jandarma formed a cordon to stop friends and relatives of those trapped inside from running towards the areas of danger.

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Medical crews tended to, and transferred the injured that were easily accessible to the triage centre set up nearby. Ambulances transported the seriously injured to hospitals.

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Medical team assessing injuries of a trapped victim
Medical teams preparing to transport the injured to hospital
Medical teams preparing to transport the injured to hospital

The fire brigade used the jaws of life to rescue two injured girls from a crushed car.

Fire Brigade cutting trapped victims out of a car
Fire Brigade cutting trapped victims out of a car
Fire Brigade cutting trapped victims out of a car
Fire Brigade cutting trapped victims out of a car

Cries for help could be heard from the fourth floor leading to dramatic rescues via ropes and pulleys

Dramatic rescue from the fourth floor
Dramatic rescue from the fourth floor by UMKE
AKUT rescuing another trapped victim
AKUT rescuing another trapped victim

No casualties

In this situation there were no fatalities or injuries, however in a real life situation things would be very different.

It is reassuring to know that there are crisis plans in place and Muğla Province emergency services come together in such an organised way to respond to any crisis situation.

Mustafa Şıkman, the British Honorary Consul said

“We are very pleased at how well organised today has been. There are fifteen services and three hospitals participating today and, although we realise this is an exercise, it has gone very well” He also went on to say “At the Consulate we hold smaller exercises and discuss what action we would take in a crisis, however this is the first time we have taken part in an exercise on this scale and had an opportunity to work closely with UMKE and Muğla 911”

Representatives for the British Embassy and UMKE
Representatives from the British Embassy, UMKE and Muğla 911

UMKE representative and coordinator – Hakan Babayiğit.

Muğla 911 representitive and chairman of the board – Cenk Ayata

British Embassy representatives:

Joanne Pietsch – Consular Country Manager (Turkey) and Regional Crisis Advisor for Wider Europe.
Ahmet Dorduncu – Vice Consul Fethiye
Mustafa Şıkman – Honorary Consul Fethiye
Seniha Tanrininkulu – Consular officer Marmaris Honorary Consulate
Elvan Korukoğlu – Consular Officer Antalya Vice Consulate

Useful information on what the FCO can do for you during crises abroad and who they can help can be found here

The exercise was attended by The Mayor, Behçet Saatçı and various other officials

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British Honorary Consul, Mustafa Şıkman, with a group of the actors who took part

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George Rimmer, who took part in the exercise said

“It was very realistic. We were in the building when the earthquake hit and there was a girl trapped under some rubble. We had to make the decision to leave her and go for help as the rescue services weren’t aware she was there”

Hasan Doğan (District Director of Education) with a group of students who took part in the exercise

img_3866More about earthquakes

Next week we will bring you more about earthquakes, the precautions you should take and what to do if there is an earthquake.

Last edited by Lyn Ward on November 2, 2016 at 16:37

 

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