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The West Sussex firefighters that flew to Japan to help the rescue operation after the earthquake and tsunami have returned safely back in the UK.
The UK-ISAR team landed at Manchester Airport on Saturday afternoon in a plane chartered by DFID, the government Department for International Development. The UK team included six members of the West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service's Technical Rescue Unit (TRU). They were driven to their base at Horley Fire Station where they were welcomed back to West Sussex by DCFO Sean Ruth. He said: "The images on TV have shown us the sheer scale of destruction in Japan and the difficult operational conditions the UK-ISAR team have been working in for the last week, so I?m pleased they're home safe and well."
Two of the West Sussex team had only just returned from New Zealand, and DCFO Ruth expressed his appreciation for the extra cover provided by remaining TRU members whilst their colleagues were away.
"Two overseas deployments in such quick succession shows great personal commitment but it couldn't be done without the support of family and other team members who have stayed behind to maintain operational cover in West Sussex" said Mr Ruth.
The role of the West Sussex team was also praised by Pete Bradbury, the County Council Cabinet Member for Public Protection.
"I think West Sussex will be proud to have a team of firefighters who can respond to international disasters as well as providing specialist rescue cover at home", said Mr Bradbury. "The situation facing people in parts of Japan is pretty desperate but our firefighters have been able to offer much needed help and support, and I think they have done a professional job in extremely difficult circumstances."
Heart spoke to team leader St John Stanley about his time in Japan, click on the link above to hear his story.