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2017: ASB’s FAST is certified by the WHO

In June 2017, the First Assistance Samaritan Team (FAST), the ASB’s rapid response team for operations abroad, was successfully certified by the World Health Organization (WHO). As the first team of an aid organisation worldwide, FAST has been certified by the WHO as an ‘Emergency Medical Team 1 type 1 fixed’ (EMT 1).

‘EMT T 1’ refers to emergency medical teams that provide outpatient medical assistance during emergencies such as natural disasters. FAST was among the first teams from an aid organisation to meet the high standards and successfully pass the WHO certification process.

The WHO’s EMT standardisation strengthens coordination and collaboration among emergency medical teams in disaster areas. In addition, certified teams are required to adhere to quality standards for health care services provided to the affected population. The system provides for three levels of care, ranging from outpatient to intensive inpatient care.

Since 2006, the ASB National Federation and the ASB branches have been running the joint project FAST. After several aid missions were successfully carried out between 2009 and 2014 in Indonesia, northern Iraq, the Philippines and other regions, the National Federation and the participating branches decided to attain WHO certification. It took one and a half years to prepare for the successful WHO certification. For this, FAST expanded its trauma and emergency care capabilities because, as a certified EMT, it is deployed even earlier than it previously was in the wake of a disaster. Since being successfully certified, FAST has been deployed to Indonesia, Bangladesh, Mozambique, Mongolia, and most recently to the Kara Tepe refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos.