In preparation for the forest fire season, the exercise, which was held simultaneously in Adana, Mersin and Muğla, with the center in Antalya, in cooperation with AFAD and the General Directorate of Forestry, came to an end.
In the exercise, 20 personnel, 808 of whom were volunteers, and more than 4 vehicles, 939 of which were airborne, took part in the exercise.
According to the exercise scenario, forest fires that started in Antalya, Adana, Mersin and Muğla due to the increase in air temperature, decrease in humidity and the effect of wind were intervened by air and land for 12 hours with the support of 24 provinces.
5 firefighting helicopters, 16 firefighting planes, 2 dozers, 2 sprinklers, 3 TOMAs, 72 fire trucks and 5 personnel responded to the fire, which broke out at 43 different points in 512 districts of Antalya.
Within the scope of the exercise, evacuation of live animals from the school, site, hotel and evacuation were carried out, and the fires were extinguished.
Work was carried out in 10 different locations
Before the exercise, a live connection was made with the provincial governors in the administrative centers of the provinces participating in the exercise at the Fire Management Center.
On the other hand, the forest fire response drill was viewed from the air by getting on the fire response helicopter.
Our Deputy Minister, Mr. İsmail Çataklı, receiving information from the connected authorities, wished success in the studies.
Deputy Minister of Interior Çataklı visited the exercise areas in 10 different locations in Antalya one by one and followed the work on site.
In his statement to the journalists, Deputy Minister Çataklı reminded that the provinces participating in the exercise had been fighting fires for a long time last year, and stated that a total of 16 provinces participated in the firefighting work in the exercise.
Expressing that 5 thousand personnel, over 800 volunteers and many vehicles were involved in the exercise, Deputy Minister Çataklı said that their aim is to see how realistic their plans are in practice, to test them, to get feedback by seeing the deficiencies and to revise the plans.
Stating that they want to ensure cooperation between institutions, develop practices, strengthen coordination ability and encourage institutions to develop their capacity in accordance with needs, our Deputy Minister Mr. Çataklı said, “We always argue that this issue cannot be overcome with the struggle of AFAD alone and public institutions alone in disaster management. Apart from the public sector, our non-governmental organizations and volunteers are our two critical stakeholders. We try to be together with these two stakeholders in all our exercises.” said.
“We Are Trying To Learn Lessons From Last Year's Experience”
Our Deputy Minister Mr. Çataklı stated that they declared last year as the year of disaster education throughout Turkey and this year as the year of disaster drills.
Deputy Minister Çataklı said that they were going through an intense exercise period and said: “As a matter of fact, we held the winter exercise in Erzurum. We held the assembly, shelter and evacuation drill in Istanbul. We conducted a search exercise in the nature in Diyarbakır. Next week we will have exercises in Kastamonu and Trabzon. We had planned over 54 thousand exercises. We have passed 53 thousand now. We will almost have reached our goals before the first six months of the year are over. Our aim here is to raise awareness. After all, such works will be done with the support of our citizens as much as the people in charge of disasters. Awareness is important in terms of not causing chaos and getting their support when needed. For this reason, we will continue our efforts until the end of the year. We know the experiences of Antalya and our region last year. We are trying to learn from them.”
AFAD President Yunus Sezer, Forest General Manager Bekir Karacabey and Antalya Governor Ersin Yazıcı and representatives of public institutions also participated in the exercise.
In the exercise in Adana's Kozan district, Eskimantaş Mahallesi rural area, 400 personnel, water sprinkler and construction equipment, helicopters and UAVs were directed to the region, upon the forest fire notification, as per the scenario.
Security forces ensured road safety by establishing checkpoints in designated areas. Children affected by the fire in a primary school were evacuated. Neighborhood residents and animals affected by the fire were also rescued.
In the exercise, situations such as falling rocks on the road, distribution of food to the citizens, setting up tents for temporary shelter in safe areas, and transferring those affected by the smoke and injured to health institutions were revived. With the intervention of the teams, the forest fire was extinguished, and the drill was completed without any problems.
812 personnel and 179 vehicles participated in the exercise held in Yanışlı and Büyükeceli neighborhoods in Mersin's Gülnar district.
A meeting was held at the Disaster Coordination Center, which was prepared in a hotel before the exercise, with the participation of Governor Ali Hamza Pehlivan, the city protocol and other interested parties. At the meeting where stakeholder institutions exchanged information, Governor Pehlivan was connected to Antalya via live connection and briefed Deputy Minister Çataklı about the exercise in the city.
Then, as per the scenario, teams were sent to the region due to the forest fire that broke out in the rural areas of the two neighborhoods. Houses, summer estates and a hotel in the neighborhood were affected by the fire. Some citizens and animals in the barn were evacuated by teams. Citizens in the summer estates and the hotel were also removed from the region with coast guard boats. The injured citizens were taken to hospitals by ambulances. A temporary shelter with 200 tents was established in Büyükeceli District for citizens whose houses were damaged. The fire was extinguished with the intervention of the teams.
After the exercise ended, Pehlivan conducted a field investigation and congratulated the teams for their work.
Pehlivan stated that every stage of the exercise was carried out successfully and said, “Our biggest wish is not to experience disasters, but we know that as a country, we carry the risk of many types of disasters. However, we also know that the more prepared we are, the less the impact of disasters can be minimized. This is achieved through coordinated and collaborative work. It gives the opportunity to test this work coordination in these exercises.” said.