Dubai search-and-rescue teams deal with 2,000 incidents so far this year

The force responded to domestic incidents as well as missions in earthquake-hit Turkey, Syria, Morocco and flood-stricken Libya

Dubai search-and-rescue teams have responded to traffic accidents, fire incidents, and missions overseas. WAM
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Dubai's search-and-rescue teams have responded to over 2,000 incidents in the last nine months.

These included traffic accidents, fires, rescues from cars, residences and lifts and search-and-rescue operations abroad.

Dubai Police responded to a total of 2,551 incidents, down from the 3,845 incidents recorded last year.

“We've managed to cut down the average response time for emergencies to 6.9 minutes from a target of seven minutes,” said Maj Gen Saeed Hamad bin Sulaiman, Director of the General Department of Transport and Rescue of Dubai Police.

“Unlike other officers, these specialised team members are a consistent presence in all rescue operations and incidents of every kind.”

These included rescuing people who fell into a tank, a person who fell into a cement mixer, a man who was buried under rubble after a building collapsed, and responding to a fire that was caused by welding equipment being kept near flammable materials.

“Our intervention was critical. We received camera footage, verified the number of victims, and rescued them.”

Col Khaled Al Hammadi, the Department's Search-and-Rescue team head also shared the gravity of an operation in the Northern Emirates where rockslides had trapped a worker in a crusher.

“When we arrived, we knew the chances of survival were slim, and tragically, the individual was dead when we extracted him,” he said.

This year, Col Khaled and a team of rescuers responded to a fire in a commercial centre that led to a partial ceiling collapse.

“It was dark and the place was covered by thick black smoke. It didn't feel right and I ordered the team to evacuate,” he said.

“Just moments after evacuating the ceiling caved in entirely. It was such a close call that people outside thought we had been buried beneath the rubble.”

Rescues beyond borders

The force's work has also extended beyond the UAE, with missions in earthquake-hit Turkey, Syria and Morocco, as well as flood-stricken Libya.

“Our teams, part of Operation Gallant Knight 2, have been instrumental in the search-and-rescue operations across these four nations,” said Maj Gen Saeed.

Col Khaled led the UAE rescue squad during the Syria and Turkey earthquakes.

Watch: Sheikh Hamdan meets Dubai search and rescue teams that worked in Turkey

Watch: Sheikh Hamdan meets Dubai search and rescue teams that worked in Turkey

“The search-and-rescue team heroes who are distinguished by their exceptional professionalism consistently led the charge during these major incidents,” he said.

“There was a mixture of sorrow while retrieving the bodies of victims, especially children, and the joy of saving others like an Arab family of a mother and her three children in Turkey."

Between operations in Morocco and Libya, rescue teams managed to recover more than 100 victims.

“They were in dire situations, yet these demanding circumstances are precisely what we are trained for,” said Col Al Hammadi.

Updated: November 08, 2023, 3:00 AM