Firefighters leave Wigan borough station to join rescue efforts after earthquake in Morocco

Two firefighters from the borough are among a team working in Morocco as part of international search and rescue efforts after a devastating earthquake.
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Five members of staff from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) flew to Marrakech on Sunday to join a UK International Search and Rescue (UKISAR) team, made up of 60 operational crew members from 14 fire and rescue services.

The team has been deployed through the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, following a request for support from the Moroccan government after a 6.8-magnitude earthquake stuck on Friday that killed thousands of people.

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Firefighters Martin Foran, John Hughes, Gavin Kearsley, Simon Cording and Ross Strother are involved in the rescue efforts after an earthquake in MoroccoFirefighters Martin Foran, John Hughes, Gavin Kearsley, Simon Cording and Ross Strother are involved in the rescue efforts after an earthquake in Morocco
Firefighters Martin Foran, John Hughes, Gavin Kearsley, Simon Cording and Ross Strother are involved in the rescue efforts after an earthquake in Morocco
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Among those helping with rescue efforts are John Hughes and Simon Cording, watch managers from the technical response unit at Leigh fire station, who will be technicians.

They are joined by Ramsbottom and Heywood station manager Martin Foran, who is acting as operations commander and was involved in the response to the Turkey-Syria earthquake earlier this year; Gavin Kearsley, watch manager at Ashton’s technical response unit, who will be a crew leader; and Ross Strother, from the service’s technical training team, who is also a technician.

Supporting them in Greater Manchester will be watch manager Mike Hirst, who is co-ordinating the service’s response.

Assistant chief fire officer Barry Moore said: “GMFRS is pleased to be supporting the national search and rescue operation in Morocco and we send our thoughts to the people of Morocco and everyone affected by this devastating event.

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“Our team of five highly skilled search and rescue technicians have safely arrived in Marrakesh, where they have set up a base of operations, and we expect to hear more from the team in the coming days, but we are grateful to them and to their families.”

National Fire Chiefs Council chairman Mark Hardingham said: “The thoughts of the UK’s fire and rescue services are with all those affected by the devastating earthquake in Morocco.

“A team of specially trained firefighters and medics from the UK has been deployed to assist following a request from the Moroccan government to the British government.

“They will be providing specialist technical support where it is needed most to save lives and support local emergency service teams.”

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