Last week saw emergency services from across the Bases and within the Republic of Cyprus take part in a large-scale exercise in Troodos to test the joint response in the event of a fuel leak and subsequent fire.
More than 50 people were involved in Exercise Lion Vouno II, which saw members of the RoC Fire Service, Cyprus Police and the Forestry Department, work alongside their BFC counterparts to get the situation under control in the most-effective way possible.
During the scenario, which simulated a fire in a chalet, two people were seriously injured and required rescuing from the fire and toxic fumes.
Squadron Leader Ema Bean, the Second in Command of Episkopi and Troodos Station, was the exercise lead and she explained how bringing together units from both the Bases and the RoC was so important for the success of the joint effort.
She said: “The collaboration between the Bases and the Republic of Cyprus is so important for the work we do in Troodos. It is important to remember that we have limited first line response in Troodos, so it is crucial that we are able to work successfully alongside the RoC emergency services when the time comes.
“We have an excellent relationship between ourselves and the grassroots first responders and there is so much respect which has been developed over many years. The Cyprus Police, the Fire Service and the Forestry Department are all excellent and have a great deal of expertise in handling situations like the one we exercised.
“The response from everyone involved on the day was absolutely fantastic and we are really happy with how it all went.
“We have an LEC – Michael Pieris – who has been based in Troodos for many years and he has built up an outstanding rapport with the RoC emergency services and there is a lot of mutual respect there and you simply cannot buy that, it needs to be nurtured over time.”
Station Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Robert Davison, who was on the ground watching the events unfold, revealed he found the front-line view most useful.
He said: “This was an excellent exercise and usually if this sort of thing was to happen for real, I would be at Episkopi Station just receiving communication from the incident. This exercise allowed me to watch in real time as events unfolded.”
Dimitris Katsiflis, the Limassol District Group Manager for the Cyprus Fire Service, was equally enthusiastic about the exercise and the overall working relationship with his Bases counterparts.
He said: “The exercise was a very successful and we have very similar working practices to our colleagues in the Bases.
“We cooperate very well with not only the Troodos Station, but with the other stations throughout the Bases and that is very important.”