From 1 to 6 October 2014 the B-FAST USAR Team was present at the meeting point in TINGLEV, in the south of Denmark. The colleagues of DEMA, the Danish Emergency Management Agency, had invited B-FAST with the aim of conducting exercises together in view of the joint INSARAG Reclassification of both teams in October 2015. In these exercises the Dutch USAR.nl cooperated as well, hence the name BENEMARK. Furthermore there were observers from the United States and Great Britain, likewise specialized in USAR.
With perseverance and motivation, the members of the USAR Team took up the various challenges kept in store by the exercise unit. Diverse techniques were applied, focusing equally on the preparation of search operations and on their logistics management. The dogs and their handlers (K9) were fully mobilized. The international coordination between the teams was another item during BENEMARK. The B-FAST team management smoothly integrated in this cooperation which is crucial for the success of a real USAR operation in the field. The overall monitoring was in the hands of a Mentor, who will assist the team in view of a successful Reclassification.
The exercise in Denmark was also an opportunity to test the organization of the B-FAST base camp and to compare the other teams’ facilities.
In brief, BENEMARK has been a positive and instructive experience for all team members.