A French firefighter who returned from Turkey tells how he saved lives

Philippe Besson is the president of International emergency firefighters, a French NGO based in Limoges, which intervenes during natural disasters in France and around the world. On February 7, he took 36 volunteer firefighters, search and rescue specialists, to Turkey to help find survivors after the earthquakes that hit the country hard.

With them, more than two tons of equipment and three tracking dogs to help them search the rubble, “the fastest method to locate buried living victims”, according to him. Indeed, “the dog will show great interest in a scent that he has been able to pick up and he will start barking at the place where he perceives this scent”, he continues.

Then it’s a race against time. The lieutenant-colonel explains that we must go very quickly and begin to clear the area from which the effluvium is coming. An operation that can sometimes take 12 hours before being able to come into contact with the buried person. The firefighters must then maintain a dialogue with her throughout the rescue: “Above all, she must not fall asleep, we keep her alive”.

Their team notably enabled an 11-year-old girl and a 62-year-old woman to be rescued from the rubble. He tells how they were able to save them in the video at the top of this article.

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