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In February 2023, the earthquake in Turkey took place. A group of firefighters from Ferrol (Galicia, Spain) were asked by the canine rescue unit CASAGA to collaborate in the rescue tasks. Despite the magnitude of the event and the fact that it was our first experience in this type of catastrophe, we learned that our training and professional experience gave us the possibility to offer much-needed help in that situation despite the limited resources we had.

The delay in arriving (4 days after the earthquake) gave us the feeling that we could have done much more for those people who, despite the tragedy in which they were immersed, gave us a warmth and gratitude that we didn’t think we fully deserved. The idea of this association began to take shape: to have a group with suitable resources, capable of giving a rapid response and made up of professionals who had been able to meet the internationally established standards for rescue in this type of catastrophe. All with a single purpose: to save lives and help alleviate the suffering of the people affected.

Once the decision was taken to undertake this journey, firefighters, health and security personnel from different parts of Galicia began to contact us to offer to take part in this difficult and exciting journey.

The rest, we hope, will be history.

Declaration of Principles

The Galician Association for Integral Search and Rescue in Emergencies (BRIEGAL) is a non-profit organisation specialising in emergency response to catastrophic emergencies. It is made up of professionals from different fire services, who abide by the following declaration of intentions:

  • BRIEGAL declares itself to be an autonomous organisation governed by the fundamental principles of humanitarian aid: neutrality, independence, humanity and impartiality, which seeks to achieve its aims without interference from governments, companies, political or religious associations, trade unions or power groups.
  • BRIEGAL declares itself to be apolitical and non-denominational, respecting any kind of religious, ideological or political belief.
  • BRIEGAL has an international character and will give its help based on objective criteria and must always be requested or accepted by the population. BRIEGAL members do not interfere in local affairs.
  • BRIEGAL members shall at all times respect the customs, culture and environment of the area in which they are working.
  • BRIEGAL shall never provide assistance for causes that are warlike or that threaten the environment or human dignity.
  • The members of BRIEGAL act anonymously and voluntarily, without seeking prominence in their actions or economic or professional benefits.
  • All the material and economic resources of BRIEGAL will be destined to the purposes for which it was created.