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Development of specialized rescue in underground infrastructure in Georgia

The progress of civilisation means that Georgia is increasingly more vulnerable to the effects of manmade events and catastrophes. The use of underground infrastructure for passenger transport or to transport hazardous goods is a great threat to users as well as to rescue services.

The most frequently used means of public transportation in Tbilisi is the underground. Being one of the most popular and fastest means of transport, it is also one of the biggest and most burdened underground railroads in Georgia. The underground started operating in 1966, and to this day has not been modernised in terms of safety.

Another problem for the Georgian fire service is events in mountain tunnels. Because of Georgia’s geology, the most important transport routes run through dozens of several-kilometre-long tunnels drilled in the mountains.

With the 2014 restructuring of the rescue services in Georgia and the establishment of a new, uniform rescue and civil protection system, needs for training, equipment and management of these services have increased.

Development of specialized rescue in underground infrastructure in Georgia

With the aim of continuously increasing the skills of services responsible for responding to threats, the target group consisted of firefighters referred by the Crisis Management Agency for training in specialist rescue actions in underground infrastructure as well as individuals in high positions in the Crisis Management Agency.

To counteract threats, an appropriate level of specialist training is needed by rescuers, along with technical equipment for rescue units. In 2014, Project 288/2014 was implemented under the title “Safe rescuer, effective rescuer – today and tomorrow of a rescuer’s personal protection,” which was designed to raise awareness and safety of rescuers by training Georgian rescuers how to properly select personal protections and maintain respiratory protection devices. In the year that followed, Project 17/2015 was implemented under the title “Development of the specialist high-altitude rescue system in Georgia,” which was a continuation of the adopted algorithm for development of specialist rescue services. The Director of the Crisis Management Agency under Georgia’s MIA, Mr. Zviad Katsashvili, expressed acceptance of the project and readiness to implement it.

In the course of the project, Georgian beneficiaries had the opportunity to become acquainted with technical and organisational solutions applied in Poland and in the EU, which have no doubt brought an element of innovation among the Georgian rescue services. The Georgian rescue services received professional specialist equipment for rescue missions in underground infrastructure.

Development of specialized rescue in underground infrastructure in Georgia

Representatives of the Georgian side were acquainted with the current procedures and the newest equipment used in Polish rescue services, which should facilitate decisions concerning future purchases of specialist equipment.

The first practical training was held in cooperation with the Municipal Headquarters of the State Fire Service of Warsaw and the Warsaw Metro Rescue Service. Six rescuer-trainers were trained so that they could continue on their own further vocational training of rescue services in Georgia. Thirty-seven representatives of the Georgian rescue services participated in the main part of the training, which concerned actions in underground infrastructure and ended with a presentation of recommendations for the creation of a specialist rescue system.

With the participation of Polish instructors, presentations were made of the current organisational and technical arrangements as well as trends in the work methods during specialist rescue operations in underground infrastructure. Actions taken served to improve the effectiveness of services responsible for responding to threats. Thanks to discussion panels and practical exercises, awareness of rescue workers concerning the choice of rescue actions in underground infrastructure will improve significantly. The completed project forms the basis for working out coordinated actions to ensure safety of the population and rescuers in the event of natural as well as manmade threats.