This weekend, the Bulgarian Civil Protection Training Centre in Montana will host an international exercise in civil protection. Search and rescue teams from the Czech Republic, Estonia and Slovenia will be training in earthquake response. The simulation, funded by the European Commission, will enable the partner countries to work together more efficiently in case of real disasters.
"Earthquakes can be neither predicted nor controlled. From disasters in Haiti, Japan and elsewhere, we know their power to kill people and hurt whole communities, to destroy property and affect whole nations for years to come. We, in Europe, are not immune to this random force of nature. The only way to withstand it is to be prepared, and in this, civil protection services play an essential role. Swift and well-coordinated earthquake response is crucial for saving lives. This is why the European Commission supports civil protection teams from our Member States in joint training, disaster response practice and collaboration," said Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva.
The exercise will simulate an earthquake of a 7.2 magnitude, damaging a dam and causing a tsunami wave. In the simulation, international search and rescue teams have to cooperate in a fast and effective life-saving operation.
Such civil protection exercises have been funded by the European Commission since 2007. There, experts train, network and exchange good practices, testing their disaster response procedures and strengthening the cooperation of national civil protection authorities and the European Civil Protection team.