26 September 2023

Local fire fighters home from Turkey

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NSW Emergency services workers have been honoured by Sydney’s Türkish community at a ‘welcome home’ dinner to thank the personnel who spent weeks in Türkiye assisting with response and recovery efforts in the aftermath of the catastrophic earthquakes that claimed over 52,000 lives.

Fire and Rescue NSW Commissioner Paul Baxter said the 54 FRNSW Urban Search and Rescue specialists who formed part of the 72-strong contingent of Australian emergency services workers who went to earthquake-damaged Türkiye, were honoured at the dinner.

“As part of the support mission, the team took over more than 22 tonnes of equipment that was used to search many of the areas most seriously affected by the earthquake,” Commissioner Baxter said.

“The firefighters and their colleagues also recovered the bodies of 34 victims, returned to their loved ones.”

Commissioner Baxter said the deployment involved difficult and exhausting work over long hours.

He said the crews experienced additional quakes and aftershocks while in the field which often lead to further building collapses.

“Our firefighters are considered amongst the best in the world and they deserve to be thanked for the way in which they went about providing assistance to the people of Türkiye in the aftermath of these devastating earthquakes,” Commissioner Baxter said.

“They were deployed in the heart of the areas worst affected and were required to work long, arduous hours in very tough conditions,” he said.

“I can’t thank them enough for their bravery and commitment and I’m very happy the members of Sydney’s Türkish community have had an opportunity to express their gratitude through this function.”

Commissioner Baxter said the dinner was organised by Sydney’s Türkish community to thank the firefighters, police, paramedics, medical team, engineers and federal officials who formed the Australian contingent.

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