Ramsbottom and Heywood Station Manager Martin Foran, Leigh Watch Manager Mike Hirst, Ashton Firefighter David Hedgecock, and Leigh Firefighter Steven Pennington were part of the UK International Search and Rescue (UK-ISAR) team that was deployed to Turkey in February.
The team arrived to utter chaos, with buildings flattened and people trapped under the rubble.
But these fearless firefighters didn’t hesitate to put their lives on the line to help those in need.
They worked tirelessly, using their specialist skills and equipment to rescue eight people from the rubble.
Seven of the casualties were rescued thanks to the GMFRS firefighters’ bravery and expertise.
The team’s heroic efforts were captured in emotional video footage, showing them using all their training and experience to save lives.
It’s no wonder they received a hero’s welcome upon their return to Manchester.
A special celebration event was held at the Training and Safety Centre in Bury to thank the firefighters for their vital contributions to the international rescue effort.
The event was attended by their families, Chief Fire Officer Dave Russel, Assistant Chief Fire Officer Barry Moore, and Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester, Kate Green.
Station Manager Martin Foran shared a short presentation, detailing the many challenges the team faced while working on the ground in Turkey.
He expressed his pride in the ISAR team members and their families, acknowledging that it can be a difficult time for loved ones when their firefighters are deployed to help with rescue operations in far-off places.
The team flew to Turkey on 7 February as part of a 77-strong UK-ISAR team – a volunteer service made up of specialists from 15 fire and rescue services who are deployed to humanitarian incidents or disasters anywhere in the world.
This was not the first time GMFRS firefighters had responded to an international disaster.
They were also deployed to respond to floods in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2014, the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in 2011, and the earthquake that hit Haiti in 2010.
These brave firefighters are a credit to their profession and to the city of Manchester.
They put their lives on the line to help those in need, and their selfless actions have inspired a generation.
Their dedication and courage serve as a shining example of what can be achieved when people come together in the service of others.