SCDF unit renews status as Heavy Urban Search And Rescue Team

SCDF unit renews status as Heavy Urban Search And Rescue Team

Crawling her way through rubble, she searched for signs of life.

Staff Sergeant Amelia Justina Lim, a trauma paramedic in the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), is trained to assess injuries during major disasters.

The 32-year-old was tired, hungry and stressed, but there was only one thing on her mind - to rescue trapped victims.

She was taking part in Operation Lionheart, a gruelling 36-hour search-and-rescue exercise to test whether SCDF personnel would be able to respond to a disaster anywhere in the world.

This was part of a reclassification exercise by the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG), a group formed by the United Nations.

Eight assessors from various countries were present to observe the work of the 76 men and women in the SCDF Urban Search And Rescue (USAR) team.

The New Paper covered the exercise on Thursday and Friday at the Civil Defence Academy at Jalan Bahar and the Mandai Training Village.

The exercise simulated a fictional country devastated by an earthquake.

Fighting undesirable weather - it was hot during the day and rained at night - and sleep deprivation, the team had to go through five scenarios, all involving trapped live casualties .

In one scenario, the team had to cut through steel girders and concrete blocks to reach a casualty trapped in building ruins at night.

In pitch darkness, they had to shore up the unstable structure with extendable metal rods which acted as makeshift pillars, avoiding live wires in the process.

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