Improving cooperation in emergency situations: a joint JOIN exercise in Lower Saxony

Celle, Germany, 15. October 2016

Johanniter Finland emergency rescuer

All pictures by Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe Germany 

On Saturday 15 October, around 200 participants from three countries gathered together at a training event organised by Johanniter Germany to practice emergency operations abroad. One could have met participants from Johanniter Austria, Johanniter Finland and Johanniter Germany at a training site of the Academy for Fire and Emergency Protection in Celle (Lower Saxony). The goal of the exercise was to meet conditions to register for so-called ‘Emergency Medical Teams (EMT)’ of the World Health Organisation (WHO). WHO foresees that by having introduced a registration system with standardised procedures under EMT, medical teams will be able to deliver a faster and better coordinated help under emergency conditions. 

earthquake emergency simulation

The exercise simulated an earthquake with a vast number of injured victims. The goal was to reinforce cooperation of volunteering emergency rescuers from various countries and to prepare them in the best way possible for an emergency action abroad. There have been already several occasions when JOIN emergency rescuers pooled their forces together to help abroad: for instance, our Austrian member sent staff with Johanniter Germany in Pakistan (floods) or in The Philippines (typhoon) while our Finnish member sent staff in Haiti (earthquake).

WHO evaluators were rather positive about the quality of cooperation of the teams. Jorge Salamanca Rubio from WHO, who is in charge of the registration process for EMT, said to be impressed by having the chance to observe cooperation between the emergency teams. ‘This is exactly how I imagine medical emergency teams in action’, he said.