Bases fire-fighting personnel have praised the efforts of all those involved in last week’s Republic of Cyprus-led Exercise Ifestos which took place in the Kakopetria area.
The exercise saw fire-fighting assets from Defence Fire and Rescue and 84 Squadron work alongside RoC organisations to test the Icarus Plan, which forms the basis of joint fire-fighting on the island.
Working to support the exercise, the Bases provided officers from the DFR, the RAF Akrotiri Fire Section and two 84 Sqn Griffin helicopters offering rainmaker assistance throughout.
Speaking this week and reflecting on Exercise Ifestos, Aristos Aristidou, the DFR Community Fire Safety Manager, revealed he felt the day could not have gone any better from both a Bases and RoC perspective.
He said: “The exercise was excellent from start to finish. It was well-managed and it tested the Icarus Plan just the way all of the commanders had hoped it would.
“The two helicopter crews from 84 Sqn are always so professional and they have a great working relationship and understanding with their counterparts within the RoC Fire Service and the Forestry Department and that was clear to see.”
On a Command level, Aristidou was equally enthusiastic about the working relationship between Bases officers and their RoC equivalents.
He continued: “This is the biggest annual exercise to take place in Cyprus surrounding fire-fighting, so it is very important that we are able to get all of the commanders together at the same time to share their experience and to see how we can continue to support one another in the future.
“By taking part in Exercise Ifestos, we are able to see what our joint capabilities are and what we can do to ensure we are able to keep people safe when fires break out.
“Looking back at the exercise now I think it is safe to say those objectives have been achieved and we are now in a much better position than we were before it all began.
“With so much rain having fallen this year we are expecting what could be a very busy fire season and Exercise Ifestos has put us in a great position when we are all called upon to work together.
Squadron Leader Alan Ross, Officer Commanding 84 Sqn, said his crew were delighted to be involved in the exercise again and felt, like in previous years, it was hugely beneficial.
He explained: “84 Sqn are excited to be able to train alongside colleagues from the Republic of Cyprus Fire Service, Forestry Department, 460 Sqn National Guard and the Cyprus Police Aviation Unit.
“Gaining a better understanding of key working practices and developing relationships between all those involved is to the benefit of saving lives and protecting the local population.’