With the initiative of the University Sports Federation of Türkiye, the Ministry of Youth and Sports General Directorate of Sports Services launched a project to establish Search and Rescue teams in all universities in Türkiye. While Yeditepe University Sports Director Taner Karabulut will be the administrative coordinator of the project, which is planned to enter into force in March, AKUT Founding President and Yeditepe University Lecturer Dr. Ferudun Çelikmen will serve as the training coordinator.
Dr. Ferudun Çelikmen, who is also the Founding President of AKUT, stated, 'During earthquakes, it is often the people in the vicinity who rescue others from the rubble. University students are one of our most important resources in this regard. We need to expand this initiative nationwide, as earthquakes do not give appointments. We must be prepared.
Karabulut: “We Will Train 6000 Students This Year.”
Taner Karabulut, who also serves as the advisor for the Search and Rescue Club for Natural Disasters at the university, concurrently holds a position on the Board of Directors of the University Sports Federation of Türkiye. Karabulut mentioned that after the earthquakes in Van and Izmir, he proposed establishing search and rescue teams at universities to the federation's administration. He stated, 'With the efforts of Prof. Dr. Mehmet Günay, the President of the University Sports Federation of Türkiye, and in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth and Sports, we are making this initiative a reality. We will train approximately 6,000 students in 208 universities. To train the students, Çelikmen will plan and provide training in areas such as water, mountains, earthquake response, and fire intervention.
Çelikmen: “We Should Leverage The Dynamism Of Universities”
Dr. Assistant Professor Ferudun Çelikmen commented on the initiative: "In the early years of AKUT, our most important human resources were university students and volunteers. We should leverage the dynamism of universities in search and rescue efforts. Students receiving this training will be crucial, especially in a country like ours, prone to various disasters, especially earthquakes. We aimed for the organization of all university clubs, particularly regarding disasters, within the University Sports Federation of Türkiye. We are starting the project in March. Many stakeholders are involved in this initiative, such as the Turkish Armed Forces, AFAD (Disaster and Emergency Management Authority), the Turkish Air Sports Federation, and the Scouting Federation. We are trying to establish as much infrastructure as possible for disaster response. During disasters, especially in the deadliest ones like earthquakes, those who rescue people from the rubble are often individuals with some knowledge and training. University students are our most valuable resource in this regard.
Earthquakes do not wait for an appointment. We must be prepared."
Dr. Çelikmen also provided information about the training content, saying, "We will give the students skills in first aid, search and rescue, and self-sufficiency, among other topics. We saw the best example recently during the earthquakes in Kahramanmaraş on February 6th. We left our university with a team of 30 people and went through Adana to Hatay. Our group rescued 12 people from the rubble. Those close to the scene often save the most people from the wreckage, and we need to increase this. We are talking about an earthquake in Istanbul, and everyone fears earthquakes. We must educate people because those nearby will be the first to respond. We should spread this nationwide. If such an organization is established in 206 universities across Turkey, we will initiate disaster preparedness. Creating an action that can rapidly intervene in the early moments of disasters through education and equipping is necessary.
SANALAN: We Aim To Reach As Many Students As Possible
Alp Sanalan, a member of the Search and Rescue Club for Natural Disasters' operations team at Yeditepe University, stated that he would be serving as an instructor in the project and said, "My goal here is to pass on the search and rescue experiences and knowledge I gained after earthquakes to other students. Instead of providing intensive training to students, we will teach them how to intervene in incidents. This could include earthquakes, first aid, and fires. Sometimes the best thing to do is not to intervene; they need to know that. We will focus on what can be done during an earthquake, how to intervene if you are nearby, and where you can assist until other teams arrive.
After providing basic earthquake search and rescue training, if they wish, we will offer advanced training to students. We aim to reach as many students as possible and ensure that many students receive training."
Hantaş: "Even The Smallest Piece Of Knowledge Can Save Lives."
Hayal Aylin Hantaş, a third-year student in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Yeditepe University and a member of the YÜDAK operations team, emphasized her active involvement in the club since the preparatory class. She stated, "Earthquake awareness is essential for everyone because we live in an earthquake-prone country. Even with the smallest piece of knowledge, you can save a person's life. We start with theoretical training and then progress towards training, where we use our physical strength. We receive theoretical and practical training to intervene in accidents, earthquakes, and fires."