The cross-border rescue exercise called "Odescalchi 2022" ended in the late afternoon today in the Parco Giona area. Conceived by the Army Alpine Troop Command and planned in concert with the Swiss Army, the National Fire Brigade, the civil protection system of the Lombardy Region together with all the components that come into play in the event of an emergency situation, has had the purpose of testing the procedures and skills necessary to guarantee an effective and coordinated response in every situation.
Starting from the early afternoon, in the presence of the vice president of the Regional Council of the Lombardy Region, Dr. Francesca Attilia Brianza, the prefect of Varese, dott. Salvatore Rosario Pasquariello, Commander of the Alpine Troops General of the Army Corps Ignazio Gamba, Commander of Territorial Division 3 of the Swiss Divisional Army Lucas Caduff, and representatives of local communities, the final stages of the exercise took place.
In particular, in the municipalities of Luino, Maccagno and Colmegna units of the Italian Army, the Air Force, the Swiss Army, the Civil Protection and the National Fire Brigade Corps operated in close synergy in the simulation of rescue and restoration of normality following calamitous events involving hydrogeological risk and forest fire.
In the two weeks of intense training activities that preceded today, the men and women involved were able to simulate situations of complex gravity to test the functionality of the emergency management system. The search for the integration of the command and control capabilities of the armies of the two neighboring countries was particularly challenging, as the divisional Lucas Caduff underlined, among other things.
The Italian Army has deployed a total of more than 250 soldiers coming mainly from the Alpine troops and in particular from the Alpine brigade Taurinense (32nd sapper engineers regiment, 2nd alpine regiment, logistic regiment and command and tactical support department). To ensure the efficiency of telecommunications, a factor of fundamental importance when it comes to cooperation, the specialists from the 2nd broadcasting regiment.
The bridges of the 2nd regiment of the engineering brigade have instead ensured, in synergy with their Swiss pontoon colleagues, the movement of men, vehicles and rescue materials by lake, using their own ferries made with motorized floating bridge material (PGM).
The support of the Army Aviation was also fundamental, which through the agile UH205 helicopters, coming from the 34th "Toro" detachment, guaranteed the movement in the third dimension and in particular the insertion of the military mountain rescue teams (SSAM) and the 'evacuation of injured personnel foreseen in the exercise scenario. The "Super Puma" helicopters of the Swiss Army, on the other hand, intervened for the transport of advanced reconnaissance cores as well as helicopter-transportable motor pumps.
The Air Force participated with a HH-139A helicopter from the 84th CSAR (Combat Search and Rescue) Center of Gioia del Colle (one of the SAR Centers belonging to the 15th Wing of Cervia) in air search and rescue activities with the '' objective of consolidating the Air Force's ability to plan and conduct, in synergy with the other national and foreign civilian and military components, complex air rescue operations following an accident on the ground.
The national fire brigade also participated in the exercise, which, as a fundamental component of the national civil protection service, ensured also on this occasion, the urgent and urgent technical rescue interventions, and search and rescue, assuming the technical coordination. - operational and liaison with the other components and structures involved.
Various highly specialized assets of the corps carried out monitoring missions of the flame front of the forest fire, localization of missing persons, emergency evacuation of injured personnel and civilians through the use of boats. An AW139 helicopter was also deployed Dragon for activities. In addition, personnel specialized in the management of dangerous substances coordinated the Advanced Command Post relating to the LPG rail tanker which was supposed to be derailed on the railway that connects Luino with Switzerland.
All rescue operations were constantly monitored by the Mixed Operation Center (COM) of Luino, operational arm of the prefecture of Varese, with the task of coordinating all Municipal Operations Centers (COC) persistent in the affected area. This activity also saw the prefect of Varese, dr. Pasquariello.
Dr. Francesca Attilia Brianza, vice president of the regional council of the Lombardy Region, said she was particularly satisfied with the result achieved at the end of these two training weeks. And evident to all present the high level of integration achieved by all the components involved, as underlined by the commander of the alpine troops, general of the army corps Ignazio Gamba declared: "At the end of this second edition of Odescalchi, (the first was held in 2016) all the components employed will gradually return to their respective offices, aware that they have significantly increased their ability to respond to emergency situations that increasingly affect our territories. "