Swiss Rescue is equipped for any emergency

Bern, Press release, 31.10.2014

Between 28 and 31 October 2014 around 110 members of Swiss Rescue and twelve of their dogs were put through their paces by an international assessment team near Geneva. Swiss Rescue proved itself to be equipped for any emergency, requalifying as one of the world's most professional search and rescue teams in the eyes of the UN International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG).

Four members of Swiss Rescue on a exercise mission following an earthquake in a constructed scenario in Epeisses.
Swiss Rescue is reclassified by UN INSARAG (UN International Search and Rescue Advisory Group): Members of Swiss Rescue practice a scenario in which an earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale has hit, causing about 4,700 deaths and injuring 17,400 in Epeisses. FDFA

Altogether some 170 specialists from Swiss Humanitarian Aid, the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit, the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS) and the Swiss Disaster Dog Association (REDOG) were involved. The exercise was based on a severe earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale in a fictitious country called "Léma-Jura", with around 4,700 dead and 17,400 injured. In the military training village facilities near Epeisses, the rescue team's task was to locate and rescue victims, providing initial emergency medical care.

The team worked round the clock for several days, their performance being assessed by eight international INSARAG specialists. All components and phases involved in a Swiss Rescue operation were tested, from the first alarm right up to the moment demobilisation took place on 31 October. With this diploma, Swiss Rescue remains an INSARAG-approved "heavy search and rescue team" for another five years. This means it is capable of providing search and rescue operations and initial emergency medical care in two crisis situations simultaneously for a period of ten days. INSARAG qualification also requires active coordination with local authorities and other rescue teams (in this exercise the Moroccan team).

At the same time as Swiss Rescue requalified, the new Moroccan search and rescue team also qualified as a "heavy search and rescue team" in Epeisses. The Moroccan team had been trained over the past few years by Swiss Humanitarian Aid in partnership with the DDPS and REDOG.

Further information:

Swiss Rescue

Address for enquiries:

Information FDFA
Bundeshaus West
CH-3003 Bern
Tel.: +41 58 462 31 53
Fax: +41 58 464 90 47


Federal Department of Foreign Affairs