Despite restrictions imposed following the spread of COVID-19, Polish aid has not stopped its efforts to help establish mountain rescue structures in Georgia.
It has been three years now that Georgians have received support from the ICAD Foundation. Future rescuers are trained by qualified climbers from the Specialized Services Department Geopl.eu and members of the Mountain Volunteer Search and Rescue GOPR and the Tatra Volunteer Search and Rescue TOPR.
The training curriculum covers theory instruction concerning meteorology, cartography, topography, and study of avalanches, as well as hands-on exercises. The permanent presence of the training coordinator in Georgia and the Kazbegi District administration’s assistance allowed the future rescuers to train on the ground.
The trainees follow all safety measures put in place under emergency state introduced in Georgia. Practical exercises are held in groups of three, and the participants are provided with disinfectants, protective gloves and masks to make training safe.
As part of the project, the organizers also plan to purchase equipment necessary to carry out training and real-life rescue operations. Georgian rescue services will receive computers to facilitate online theoretical training and personal rescue equipment (boots, jackets and rucksacks). The project aims to train qualified instructors working for Mountain Rescue in Georgia who will be able to teach future generations of rescuers. Georgian mountain rescue team members practice and hone their skills also beyond Polish aid projects, taking the organization’s operational capacity to the next level.
The project receives funding from the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affair’s development cooperation budget. In 2018-2020, Poland earmarked more than PLN 2.2 million to support the local Georgian administration of Svaneti and Kazbegi regions in setting up professional mountain rescue system.
The article was prepared in cooperation with the ICAD Foundation.