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"The operation that has impacted me the most has undoubtedly been Balmis, both for its duration, since we were deployed for more than a month, and for all the vicissitudes that surrounded said operation."
1. Before accessing the UME. Where have you been stationed?
I was in a couple of Cavalry units, Vec and Tank squads. During that time I participated in two international missions.
2. How are the entrance exams and the admission process?
The first requirement to belong to the UME is to be a member of any army (Earth, Navy, Air or Common Corps). Once the initial commitment and/or the minimum stay time in the destination has been fulfilled, the places can be requested, in accordance with their conditions, which are published in the Official Defense Gazette (BOD) on a regular basis.
Once the places have been requested, a pre-selection process will begin in which the merits they possess are assessed, and after a final selection that is carried out in Toledo, where they pass physical tests, psychophysical examination and personal interview, the entire process will end. with their assignment.
Subsequently, all personnel who are assigned to the UME must pass the Basic Emergency Course on a mandatory basis to consolidate their position, if so stipulated in the call for vacancies.
3. To enter the UME, is it necessary to take a specific course? Once inside, do you continue training?
Upon arrival at the unit, it is mandatory to take the Basic Emergency Course (CBE). The CBE has a distance phase that lasts about 7 months in which a series of theoretical knowledge is acquired. At the end of this theoretical part, 6 weeks of practical training are carried out in Toledo. In these 6 weeks they go through several phases of instruction covering different subjects such as firefighting, health training, vertical rescue, floods... The CBE gives basic knowledge to the students that they will later develop in their battalions.
Later When it comes to the battalions, the instruction is continuous and a multitude of courses are carried out, some of them in the civilian sphere.
4. How is the day to day in the UME?
The day always begins with a physical education session. This is of great importance since most of the interventions imply significant physical exhaustion. After the shower each Section normally has an individualized instruction. As a general rule, each Company / Section trains for the campaign in which it is immersed, against fires, for example, in the summer season, and also trains for the next one, in this case, for example, in floods, which will be the next campaign in which enter to. Apart from this, the daily instruction is also in accordance with the level of alert that said Section has that week. Thus, if their alert level is high, the instruction will be carried out near the base and an effort will be made not to have a very high physical load so that said personnel is at the maximum of their capacity if they had to be deployed in a real intervention throughout of that day.
5. Within the UME, what specialties are there?
Once assigned to the UME, and completed the Basic Emergency Course, the specialization phase begins. Although all the personnel have training in fighting forest fires, acting in winter storms or floods, there are destinations where a more specific specialization is carried out through the courses taught by the Military School of Emergencies .
6. Theme of vacations, how do you do it in the UME?
Holidays are enjoyed as in the rest of the Armed Forces units with the exception that they will attend to the special availability of the UME units in relation to specific campaigns.
7. Are many maneuvers carried out in the EMU? What do you usually practice in these?
Company maneuvers are usually carried out prior to the start of each campaign. The normal thing is that there are specific firefighting sessions in which everything related to intervention in forest fires is practiced and in which there are prescribed burns so that the exercises are as realistic as possible. Others in winter conditions in which movement in the mountains, vehicle recovery, off-road driving, search and rescue in avalanches is practiced... etc. Others that we call multi-risk in which aquatic rescue, containment/billing and principles of vertical rescue are combined. To this type of maneuvers must be added the Beta maneuvers at the Battalion level in which normally one of the Sections acts as a simulation and is in charge of preparing different incidents so that the rest of the unit can instruct in the most realistic conditions possible.
10. Is it easier to access the EMU from the ET than from the Navy or the EA?
There is no greater facility, simply the percentage of UME personnel by armies is divided between 90% of the Army, 7% of the Air and Space Army, 2% of the Spanish Navy and 1% of the Corps common.
11. What fires, floods, or other catastrophes have you been deployed to? Which one has impacted you the most?
The list would be very long but to cite the best known, the Dana flood in Murcia, the Balmis operation and the Filomena storm. The last two of this summer would be the fires in Navarra and Aragon. The operation that has impacted me the most has undoubtedly been Balmis, both for its duration, since we were deployed for more than a month, and for all the vicissitudes that surrounded said operation.
12. How do you organize yourself during the fire season? Do you always have to be close to the base in case you have to be deployed?
The unit is articulated in various levels of alert. The first level would be the alert personnel who spend the night in the unit. Said personnel is divided into the reconnaissance team, which is made up of 4 people with the chief or 2nd section chief in command and one of the two squads of the Sc. The reconnaissance team leaves a maximum of 15 minutes after receiving the warning, in turn, the platoon that is on alert spending the night in the unit must be leaving with their vehicles within 1 hour maximum from receiving the warning. The 2nd platoon of the Sc has a maximum time to be leaving the base of 2.5h and with it most of its supports would leave, such as health, Pm, engineering machines... etc. From that moment, the usual thing is that most of the unit has a response time of 3 hours. That maximum time that is set is not to join the unit, but to already be leaving in a convoy towards the emergency area.
13. How do you see the future? Do you see yourself ending your military career at the UME?
I would like to stay in the unit but I know I can return to any other unit where I can continue my military life.
14. If you had to give advice to someone who wanted to enter the UME, what would it be?
I would tell you that it is a unit beautiful and gratifying to be assigned to it, I would also tell you that the availability involved in being assigned to the UME is very high with all that this entails, you know when we leave but not when we return.
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