Fire and Rescue NSW firefighters reunited with their families following Türkiye earthquake mission - NSW

Published: 25 Feb 2023 07:46pm

Fifty-four Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) firefighters have been welcomed home after their two-week deployment to Türkiye in the aftermath of the fatal earthquakes in the country.

The Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) specialists had been working as part of the Australian Government’s 72-member Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) ‘AUS02’.

FRNSW Commissioner Paul Baxter, alongside partner emergency service leaders, Türkiye diplomats and other dignitaries, greeted and thanked the contingent after their plane touched down in Sydney tonight.

‘AUS02’ had been positioned in the hardest-hit province of Hatay, where firefighters had been using their skills to locate and extract victims from the rubble.

Firefighters used more than 22 tonnes of equipment to search 27 sites, from which it was able to return 34 deceased persons to their families.

Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience Steph Cooke said the work undertaken by ‘AUS02’ has greatly supported local families.

“The devastation from these earthquakes has been heartbreaking and our thoughts remain with the Turkish and Syrian people,” Ms Cooke said.

“I am very thankful to our Urban Search and Rescue specialists for selflessly answering the call to help and the immense contribution they made while on the ground in Hatay.”

Commissioner Baxter said following an emotional and grueling fortnight abroad, the FRNSW contingent will now enjoy some well-deserved rest.

“Our firefighters ensured victims of the quakes were treated with dignity and survivors felt supported, but we know it is work that is both physically and mentally demanding,” Commissioner Baxter said.

“We will continue to support our people and their families as they settle back into life in Australia and process what they’ve witnessed in recent weeks.”

FRNSW has a strong network of counselling, peer support services and other measures, which firefighters will be able to access at any time. 

Updated: 05 Mar 2023 09:33am

listView more incidents

Related safety topics

Smoke alarms

It“s the law to have at least one working smoke alarm installed on every level of your home.

Details about this incident may change and should not be used as emergency information and/or advice.

For all life threatening emergencies, call Triple Zero (000)

For flood information, warnings or requests for non-life threatening assistance, call the SES on 132 500 or visit the NSW State Emergency Service website here. [external link].

For information directly relating to bushfires please call the Bush Fire Information Line on 1800 679 737 or visit the NSW Rural Fire Service Website here. [external link]