The Syrian Civil Defense Corps, known as The White Helmets, constantly seeks new volunteers to attend training classes on rescue and first aid, in part due to the constant loss of aid workers in dangerous rescue operations in Eastern Ghouta, on the outskirts of Damascus.
This video shot in Zamalka shows volunteers undergoing training classes to increase their preparedness for their next rescue mission. It also follows Civil Defense volunteers on a real-life rescue mission, where they hurry to the site of a bomb blast to rescue victims and perform critical first aid.
Abu Muaz, Head Civil Defense Instructor: “The idea of establishing a Civil Defense corps was launched by few men and then developed into a more systematic institution. We even worked on establishing a training and development department for the Civil Defense volunteers, managed by professional instructors. Now we are working on a public awareness campaign targeting civilians, to help them react to emergencies, such as airstrikes or fires. We play a big role in this public awareness campaign and in training the Civil Defense volunteers, to help prevent mistakes being made while operating in emergency situations, such as while saving people who are stuck under rubble." "Thanks be to God, we started working very simply, and now we are a professional institution. We are operating with minimal mistakes, and we hope that God guides our work.”
Abu Feras, Instructor: "We are here in the training and development center of the Civil Defense corps in Eastern Ghouta. We are responsible for coaching all the volunteers in the outskirts of Damascus. In the beginning, aid work consisted of individual efforts, in small inexperienced groups. They used to pull out victims stuck under rubble, or extinguish fires; but we had a lot of problems in the rescue process. We used to cause damage to some victims because of incorrent rescue techniques." "We sought to establish a training center for rescuers, and now the Syrian Civil Defense corps is an organized institution with an established training center where all volunteers receiving training on proper rescue techniques, ways to carry victims, and extinguish fires in a professional way. Thanks be to God, we have experienced coaches. Thank God, we are happy with the results on ground."