The Hellenic Rescue Team (H.R.T.) is a Non Governmental Search and Rescue Organisation, whose members have participated voluntarily in operations since 1978, while it has functioned as an association since 1994.
It has its headquarters in Thessaloniki and has 32 branches and readiness bases throughout Greece. The Hellenic Rescue Team is certified by the General Secretariat of Civil Protection of the Ministry of Citizen Protection with Reg. No six, as well as by the INSARAG of the United Nations since 23 June 2005, making it the only international rescue organisation in Greece. It is in continuous cooperation with OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs), the Agency for International Development Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as with ECHO (European Community Humanitarian Office) of the European Union. It is also the only Greek organisation that is a member of the International Commission for Alpine Rescue (IKAR-CISA), the International Maritime Rescue Federation (I.M.R.F.) and the International Rescue Dog Organisation (IRO).
With a workforce of more than 2,500 volunteers throughout Greece, the Hellenic rescue team participates in search and rescue operations in emergency situations and mass destructions, wherever they take place, both in Greece and abroad, and is staffed by volunteers with professional conscience and excellent training.
On an operational level there are two Directorates – Operations and of Training – which have their headquarters in the Central Administration of the HRT in Thessaloniki, while, simultaneously, specialised departments operate in each branch throughout the Greek territory.
A. The aims of the Organization are mainly:
a) to provide assistance to the community in the form of humanitarian missions, first aid, life support, risk prevention, preparedness and training in research, rescue in Greece and abroad and through the Organization annexes, in situations of:
- emergencies and national need, when dealing with disasters or serious environmental hazards such as earthquakes and in situations where persons are stranded (snow, floods, wildfires) and where search operations are conducted for missing persons especially in mountainous or maritime zones, in damaged buildings, open areas). The offering of assistance in manpower and technical equipment may be made available by the Organization to anyone that requests it, in the context of rescue and at the international level;
- natural disasters (earthquakes, floods, avalanches, etc.);
- anthropogenic disasters (wildfires, massive accidents, etc.);
- anthropogenic crises (wars and their consequences); and
- in any other exceptional situation comparable to natural or anthropogenic disasters.
b) the provision of emergency humanitarian, food, development and any other type of assistance, such as restructuring and recovery, to the populations of third and particularly developing countries, as well as taking initiatives that can contribute to the economic and social development of these countries in cooperation with the Service for International Development Cooperation (I.S.D.C. - Hellenic Aid) and the National Advisory Committee (N.A.C.) for NGO issues of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Ministry of Economy, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Education, the Ministries of Development, Health and Welfare, etc. as well as the Interministerial Committee for the Organization and Coordination of International Economic Relations (C.I.E.R.) through programs of Bilateral State Development Cooperation and assistance programs and programs of the European Union external relations, of the DAC and other multilateral international organizations and bodies of international development cooperation and particularly programs financed by the European Community Humanitarian (ECHO) or any other governmental or not agency, which conducts, finances, manages or assigns programs consistent with the statutory purposes of the organisation. The realisation of these programs by the members can be done through working with a credible local partner or through the mobilisation of the local community.
c) to conduct mainly applied technological research and experimental development of innovative methods, products and services in the following areas:
- technologies and equipment for rescue, prevention and safety;
- information technology (IT), telecommunications and robotics;
- medicine especially in issues of first aid and rehabilitation of injured persons;
- innovative technologies and improvements on means of transport that can be used in rescue conditions and disaster response (vehicles, boats, submarine, aircraft instruments);
- technologies and methods of dealing with extreme weather and environmental disasters (prevention, weather forecasting, monitoring) etc.;
- any other sector that can contribute to the mission of HRT.
d) to provide social services, assistance and financial support to vulnerable groups and people with disabilities (people with disabilities).
e) to strengthen social awareness and volunteer spirit among citizens in the population, through information campaigns, promotion, education and awareness;
f) to create an educational center - academy anywhere and in any possible form, for rescue and the provision of training in first aid, lifeguarding, climbing, hiking, skiing, climbing, handling speed craft, sailing, marine life, diving with (or without) a breathing apparatus with compressed air or mixtures, handling snow vehicles, special rescue and not vehicles, handling of experimental devices or vehicles, training and using rescue dogs, using specialized rescue equipment, cooperation in missions with aerial means, simulation exercises, evacuation from rescue lifts etc., which can involve our members, members of other associations, government bodies, institutions, and each and every stakeholder.
g) to create bases for readiness, branch for the provision of assistance in emergency situations in Greece and abroad, which will serve the immediate and rapid response of the Organization;
h) to take initiatives and conduct exhortations, immediate actions and activities to protect the environment and the organisation and participation in related programs and civil society activities;
i) to strengthen social awareness and the spirit of volunteer contribution and through branches.
j) to provide assistance in operations for disaster prevention and preparedness regarding the management of disasters, similar situations, in search and rescue operations.
k) to organise related events, conferences, seminars, excursions and entertainment, which can involve our members, members of other associations, government bodies, institutions, vulnerable groups, disabled persons and each and every stakeholder.
B. The provision of assistance by the Organization is offered without any racial, religious, political, economic, social or other discrimination