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Armenian Rescue Team Spitak

"When abolishing the after effects of the 1988 Spitak disastrous earthquake, a shortage of communications means and absence of radio network was perceived. There was no communication among the Fire Service, Emergency Medical Service, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Civil Defence and Aviation. It was very difficult to set up communication and networks with specialized foreign rescue teams. The shortage of specialists in the field of radio transferring systems was also quite urgent. The Ministry of Communications system was completely ruined and it was being very slowly restored. The Civil Defence communication system was also out of order.


Spitak Rescue Team which became Spitak Rescue Centre in the future, was founded after Spitak earthquake, based on Mountaineer Climber's Club of Yerevan Physics Institute with German Red Cross assistance and financial support. To solve these problems in emergency situations, a communications team was formed. Later it became an information collecting, processing and transmitting Radio and Telecommunication Service. The stuff of the Service, volunteers from Rescue Centre, has necessary training and experience to work with radio equipment. The equipment for HF, VHF, and telex communications was partly acquired by Centre and partly granted by German Red Cross and other organizations.


Additional Information


The Spitak Rescue Team. was founded in 1988 after the disastrous earthquake in Spitak on the basis of the Mountaineer Climbers Club of Yerevan Physics Institute. Technical and financial support was provided by German Red Cross. All activities of the Rescue Team "Spitak" are based on humanitarian and human kindness according to the norms of all Geneva Conventions.


In spite of its short period of existence the Rescue Team "Spitak" has acquired a great deal of experience in rescue work in Armenia - dwelling houses explosions in Yerevan, in Nisamy, Telman, Yekhbayrutian and Bashindjagian streets; in 1993 at a large scale railway accident at the Tumanian-Kober crossing; in Georgia - an earthquake in 1991; Tadjikstan - an earthquake in 1989; Azerbadjan - rescuing worked on crashed helicopter in Kelbadjar; North and South Ossetai - a large-scale avalanche in Rock Pass, February, 1993; Iran - an earthquake in 1990; etc.


The Rescue Team "Spitak" is the only rescue organization with a high profile, both in Republic of Armenia and in neighbouring countries.


Most of the staff of the Rescue Team have been taking training courses in and professionally tested by Germany, France, Poland and at the Training Centres of other countries. Many Rescue Team "Spitak" members hold international certification as Rescue Instructors and willingly train other rescue teams.


The Rescue Team "Spitak" is a Non-Government Organization staffed by volunteers. Since the team was founded it has been extremely lucky in obtaining different types of rescue and support equipment. Today, those inventories are valued in access of 1 million German marks and a great deal of experience in its use has been gained through rescue efforts..


The work of the rescue team can be divided into three different directions, such as: Major Disasters - earthquake, explosions and collapsed buildings, etc.; Accidents - auto and railway; Mountain Rescue - land slides, avalanches and lost climbers, etc. The Rescue Team "Spitak" has enough reserves of fuel, food, medicines and related supplies that it is able to work without re-supply for up to three months in case of a major disaster.


After the founding in December of 1991 of the Rescue Training Centre, the Rescue Team "Spitak" had become the Radio Centre "Spitak"


Today the Rescue Centre "Spitak" has a facility with 3.5 hectares of land dedicated as an Operative Centre. This centre includes sports and training complexes and warehouses with construction of more necessary buildings continuing.


The Centre has a staff of 43 professional rescuers, from which 12 rescuers are specialized in Major Disasters; 11 Mountain Rescue Specialists; 6 Specialists for Auto and Railway accidents; 4 rescuers with four avalanche training dogs (two B-Category, two B-category); 5 doctors and 5 communications employees of the Radio and Telecommunications Services.


Rescue Team "Spitak" operations are carrier out around-the-clock, seven days per week, 365 days per year. The Operative group, including 3 rescuers are ready for departure in 10 minutes! In case of a major disaster the enlarged group with all necessary equipment and medical staff are ready for departure within 30 minutes after the alarm has been received.


The Radio and Communications Service is a integral part of the "Spitak" Centre and has two functions:


1. In its daily operations the Service processes and saves the internal information of the Rescue Centre; provides communications with mobile stations following any humanitarian transportation of goods, and for internal communications of the Rescue Centre.

2. In emergencies and major disasters the main duty of the Service is to provide information about the current condition of the rescue operations, communication with other rescue teams and organizations, to co-ordinate the rescue operations, collect and process information about the injured and lost in the area, etc.


The Service should co-operate with all basic radio and telecommunications systems, satellite systems (in the future), various public use radio-systems and civil amateur frequency use services, to process all ecological and technological documentation of the disaster, to perfect the value of risk, enhance control and transmit prognosis.

After implementation of the project, when the German Red Cross funding was over, the Centre maintained and installed new systems for the Service.

In spite of a lot of existing problems, mainly connected with financial questions, today the Rescue Service is equipped with modern communications and rescue equipment. Located at the Rescue Centre is the largest amateur radio station (1Kw) in the country, having the capability of work in any regime (Amtor, RTTY, Packet, CW) for any amateur bands. There is a secondary mobile radio station having the same full functions as the base station.

Should you have any further questions about the Rescue Team "Spitak" please e-mail Karen Barsamian, Head of Radio and Telecommunications Service, Rescue Team "Spitak"

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