ZDaniela Lesmeister needs three big steps before she has climbed to the top of the cone of rubble made up of pieces of wall and car wrecks. Lesmeister wants to get an idea of the situation after the devastating earthquake. A comrade from the International Search and Rescue (ISAR) aid organization has just started working alongside her search dog Hope. It only takes the animal a few moments to sniff out one of the helpers in a cavity under the rubble, this time miming as a survivor.
ISAR is an association of voluntary rescue specialists from all over Germany, who can be in the area of operation after disasters such as tsunamis, earthquakes or floods within a few hours of the request for help from an affected country. It is a small, well-established, flexible team. In order to be as well prepared as possible, the men and women meet several times a year.
This time the exercise will take place at Training Base Weeze, part of the former British military airport on the Lower Rhine. It is the largest multidisciplinary training campus in Europe. The Dutch fire brigade is one of the base’s most loyal customers, which is why there is always something on fire at the base. Sometimes it’s roof trusses, sometimes basements, carports or a specially prepared hazardous goods tanker. Thick swathes are currently moving from one of the former crew quarters to the ISAR team, which makes their mission on the rubble field even more realistic.
The rescuers are used to suddenly arriving in the worst chaos, setting up their field hospital in the shortest possible time and simultaneously starting to search for the seriously injured. Among the 170 volunteers are technicians, doctors, midwives, i.e. all people who are already busy with their professional life. It’s no different with Lesmeister. The 45-year-old woman, who began her career as a police commissioner in Gelsenkirchen, studied law in Bochum at the same time, and then wrote her doctorate part-time, has been State Secretary in the North Rhine-Westphalian Ministry of the Interior since the summer.
ISAR has a very good reputation in the rescue scene
She devotes almost all of her free time to ISAR – and her husband Michael is usually not far away. As managing director, he is one of only five full-time ISAR employees. ISAR has an excellent reputation in the rescue scene and not only works with other aid organizations, but also with research institutes to help develop new deployment techniques. In addition, ISAR was the first private search and rescue organization in the world to be tested and classified by the United Nations according to international standards.
When Michael and Daniela Lesmeister met for the first time, they didn’t get along very well. She was in her early 20s, still in police training, and had it in her head to have her dog trained as a search dog by the Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW). “I thought, what is Blondie doing here?” says Michael Lesmeister with a grin. “It wasn’t love at first sight,” confirms his wife. “We fought quite a bit, but I didn’t let myself be expelled.” During a joint THW mission in India in 1999, the two realized that they belong together. “By the way, I never became a good dog handler,” says Daniela Lesmeister. “To this day I don’t really know how to do it.”
#Daniela #Lesmeister #politician #disaster #relief #worker
Leave a Reply