Belgium First Aid Support Team (B-FAST)
B-FAST are the national urban and search rescue team of the Belgium state. They are sponsored by four Government departments, the Interior and Foreign Ministries, Health, and Defence. B-FAST team members come from Civil Protection, the Fire Service, the Health Department, the Belgium Army as well as a number of civilian volunteers and together they form a 'Medium' USAR capability. B-FAST successfully passed the INSARAG classification process in 2010.
Civilience was contracted to B-FAST for two years and involved in a number of projects, the details of which you can see on this page.
The Belgium Government continues to support and develop their urban search and rescue capability, which operates within both the EU Civil Protection Mechanism and the INSARAG Methodology, dependent upon where they are deploying.
Originally with the capability to deploy one Medium USAR Team, the plan was to double this capacity so that Belgium would always have a reserve force, and could respond to an emergency or disaster, at any time and in any circumstances. B-FAST re-built their cache of equipment and recruited new members from both the Fire Service and the Civil Protection department across Belgium. Civilience was contracted to aid and support the B-FAST team development, using our knowledge and experience to provide training, links with other organisations, access to exercises and new technologies.
Training & Evaluation
In the B-FAST methodology, the main responsibilities for the SDE-2 ‘chef de détachement’ position are at the tactical level, while the SDE-2 ‘chef d’équipe’ position concentrates on management at the operational level and the overall team leader takes the strategic decisions. Civilience assisted B-FAST with the training and development of a number of new SDE-3 and SDE-2 officers, evaulating performance in exercises and developing specific 'decision-making' table-top exercises.
In 2011, Civilience was able to facilitate with Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX), a custom shoring class that was held at Disaster City® in College Station, Texas. Eight B-FAST instructors attended the class, which focused on the design, construction, and placement of timber shoring systems as listed in the INSARAG External Classification (IEC) guidelines. The B-FAST personnel built simple vertical shores (T-Spot Shores), Laced-Post shores and Horizontal shores. They undertook diagonal stabilization with raker shores as well as learning about the mechanical and physical principles behind the design, construction, and placement of timber shoring systems and finally, the selection and assessment of timber for shoring.