Tim Das, Head nurse UZA & B-FAST volunteer
Tim Das works as a head nurse in the accident and emergency department of the University Hospital of Antwerp. In December 2003, he participated in a B-FAST mission to Iran, where the city of Bam was struck by a severe earthquake with mass casualties. In order to help the people in need, B-FAST set up a field hospital. Tim was deployed to the B-Fast team as a nurse by the FPS Public Health.
As this experience worked out so well for Tim, he decided to learn more about the concept of international humanitarian emergency relief. Through B-FAST, he attended various training sessions organized by the United Nations and by the European Community Civil Protection Mechanism.
In 2011, he participated as a Team Leader in an exercise which took place in Moldova on the initiative of the EADRCC (Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre), the civil crisis management instrument of the NATO. The exercise included the similation of an earthquake in Moldova with a large number of international teams providing assistance on the site. In such cases, coordination is paramount.
Tim: “ The active search for information and trainings concerning humanitarian emergency relief is essential for every B-FAST volunteer, especially for medically-skilled volunteers who in fact do not deal with these kinds of situations on a daily basis. One must not forget that there is an immense difference between working in a fully equipped hospital and working in a disaster-affected region within an international context. Besides, B-FAST is highly regarded abroad. It is a complex interdepartmental structure that becomes an extremely well-oiled machine during a crisis, as a result of a thorough preparation at numerous levels and by various ministries. Everyone knows what he has to do and cooperation therefore runs very smoothly. Thanks to the University Hospital of Antwerp (UZA) that awards leaves for humanitarian purposes to B-FAST volunteers, I can always be deployed to a B-Fast mission on a very short notice. ”