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Casa Lanfreducci, Pjazza Jean de Valette, Valletta
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Voluntary Organisation

Financial support needed for Canine Search and Rescue Team

The aim of this Project is to help them reach their main goal: becoming an INSARAG accredited USAR team with canine search capabilities.

Why does Malta need such a team?

Here’s some background: 700 people were reported missing in Malta in 2022. Between 2015 and 2021, 5,000 missing-person reports were filed, with 800 remaining untraced and 43 found dead. The tragic case of Carmelo Fino gained media traction last year, but his body was only found 17 days later.

On an island this small, these numbers are illogical. Then there's the construction crisis that has led to the collapse of 11 buildings since 2018, leaving 2 dead, 3 injured and many families homeless. The possibility that these incidents happen again in the future are not implausable, being correctly equipped as a country to face these disasters is important.The issue is that we're relying on human abilities alone.

In both the case of collapsed buildings and missing persons, it is canines that could mean the difference between life and death. This was recently proven to the public in the Turkey-Syria earthquakes.

Within only 2 years of training, Malta’s CPD have seen their canines at work first hand and have already expressed great interest in collaborating with them, since they do not have the resources themselves.

While Canine Search and Rescue Team have already made significant progress, they have hit a wall when it comes to attaining the equipment needed to further training: the protective gear, tools and supplies that the team needs to train in practical set ups.

What are the funds for?The funds acquired through this project will go straight towards the purchase of 3 full USAR Kits as well as some other rescue equipment for three members of their team to use during training and demonstrations.  

In two short years of operation, they have covered training in first aid, rope access, patient immobilization, stretcher handling, map reading, and radio communications, while also training a number of dogs in rubble search, tracking and cadaver search under the direction of expert trainers.

Having this new gear in hand will immediately enable them to not only use the gear during practical sessions, learning how to use the tools and growing accustomed to performing training in heavy protective gear, but it will also allow them to leverage this equipment to make public demonstrations and fundraising events more engaging and successful.

This equipment will also enable them to start supporting local entities. Canine Search and Rescue Team will wear and use the kits during such events. This will make local entities to stand out from the crowd, allowing interested parties to approach them more easily to ask questions, while also properly showcasing the use of the kits and all equipment in demonstrations that never fail to attract volunteers and donors. In the short term, acquiring these kits will therefore directly impact the progress of our team’s mission in three ways:

  1. Taking training sessions to a more practical level, allowing volunteers to obtain higher level accreditations
  2. Attracting more volunteers to grow their team
  3. Attracting more donors, both corporate and individual, to fund the remaining equipment on their list.

In the long term, accelerating the mission’s progress will bring them closer to INSARAG Accreditation, allowing them to assist CPD and the UN at a moment’s notice to save the lives of people in distress.

Their organizational structure and training is designed around the INSARAG models and are currently delivering a 5-week intensive INSARAG First Responder Training Course to volunteers, with the blessing and encouragement of the UNDAC & INSARAG Secretariat itself . This is the first of many INSARAG Courses that they aim to complete, bringing them closer to accreditation.

However, they are running out of courses that can be completed without the use of proper equipment to train with during practical sessions. On a managerial level, they are getting anxious about maintaining the current level of enthusiasm and momentum that is seen among volunteers. Every post published on social media about a training session leads to new sign-ups on their digital volunteer registration form - but these will dry up once training sessions stall.

The overarching purpose therefore depends on the procurement of a long list of equipment, gear and tools. This project fund will help get the basic equipment required for three members. They aim to fund the kits for the remaining volunteers as well as the remaining equipment for the whole team over the coming years through fundraising events, corporate sponsorships and donations.

Contact person
Simon Briffa