Bases firefighters and 84 Squadron took part in the Republic of Cyprus Fire Service-led Exercise Pyrsos on May 24 as part of the annual joint fire safety training.
The exercise, which took place in Kivides, in 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 members of Defence Fire and Rescue (DFR) were on the ground in a liaison capacity and offering expert advice.
Speaking shortly 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, it enhanced our interoperability and communication skills and promoted regional cooperation and mutual understanding.”
RoC Fire Service Press Officer and Public Relations Representative, Andreas Kettis, who was present, 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 in real-time is a multi-nation firefighting operation.
Kettis continued: “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, as well as 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.
“Apart from the Cyprus Fire Service and the Forest Department, Repression Services of the Cyprus Republic in such fires are the National Guard, the Police, the Civil Defense, District Administration Offices, the Game and Fauna Service, Community Councils and Volunteer Firefighting Teams.
‘’Significant help and support in extinguishing such fires every year is being provided by DFR from the British Bases, with the contribution of ground and especially aerial forces by 84 Squadron.”