British Bases in multination firefighting exercise

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Bases firefighters and 84 Squadron participated in the Republic of Cyprus Fire Service-led Exercise Pyrsos as part of the annual joint fire safety training.

The exercise, which took place in Kivides, Limassol, simulated an agroforestry fire and saw RoC firefighting aircraft work alongside the British Bases and Jordan, who provided two helicopters and Slovenia as observers.

Pumas from 84 Squadron provided rainmaker support, and Defence Fire and Rescue (DFR) members were on the ground in a liaison capacity and offering expert advice.

After the Exercise, Pyrsos, DFR Episkopi Station Manager, Aristos Aristeidou, said:

‘’The exercise included scenarios of wildfire near a residential area and provided a valuable opportunity to share knowledge, expertise, and best practices, not only between the two fire services but with all emergency services in the RoC.

“It also helped to identify gaps and challenges in the current firefighting procedures and equipment, which will be addressed before the beginning of the hot season.

‘’It was also a great opportunity for our new on-island helicopter fleet – Puma – to work on its aerial firefighting along with all the other RoC flight units.

“The joint exercise helped strengthen the existing excellent relationship between BFC and the RoC, enhanced our interoperability and communication skills, and promoted regional cooperation and mutual understanding.”

Cyprus Fire Service Press Officer Andreas Kettis said: “The fire drill, which is under the supervision, administrative and operational coordination of the Cyprus Fire Service, is conducted within the framework of the preparation of the firefighting summer season and aims to establish the operational readiness and coordination of all ‘Repression Services’’.

This joint exercise also sees the RoC implement the IKAROS Plan, which is a multination firefighting operation in real-time.

Kettis added: “Furthermore, the goal of the exercise during which the “IKAROS PLAN” is activated is to involve all aerial forces of the Cyprus Republic, DFR and 84 Squadron of the British Bases in Cyprus, and the two aerial means of the neighbouring friendly country of Jordan, together with ground forces of all Services that will be involved in extinguishing fires during the firefighting season.

“Significant help and support in extinguishing such fires every year is provided by DFR from the British Bases, with the contribution of ground and especially aerial forces by 84 Squadron.”