Wanted: community spirited folk, good in a crisis

Newark, Notts., UK: A council and a first aid charity are looking for volunteers  who could support their communities in an emergency.

In a major emergency such as a serious fire, flooding, snow and storms, our communities, especially rural communities, can find themselves in need of temporary support to help people who for one reason or another are having difficulties with continuing their normal daily lives.
It is at times like these that the emergency services and local authorities are stretched to the limit and community minded volunteers come forward to offer short term assistance.

Newark and Sherwood District Council and St John Ambulance in Nottinghamshire are hosting a presentation on February 28th in a bid to recruit potential volunteers for across the district.
The council’s emergency planning officer, Mark Henry, said without having completed a basic security check and some safety training, the authorities were unable to accept valuable offers from willing but unregistered volunteers, whatever their previous stated history or occupation.

“This is a big loss and one we very much regret at the time. So, in an effort to close the gap between the requirements of ensuring safe working and the protection of children and vulnerable people, St John Ambulance, on behalf of the Nottinghamshire Emergency Responders, is initiating a new scheme to focus on a minimum commitment volunteer who will complete only the most basic of registration and training to become a fully-approved and qualified volunteer, able to support their communities in an emergency, just as regular uniformed St John volunteers do.”

The new ‘Community Emergency Volunteer’ or CEV would need only to complete around two hours’ training every other month. As part of the process the volunteer will get a free Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check, First Aid certificate, fire safety certificate, a Working with Children and Vulnerable People certificate, as well as background knowledge about the emergency response process, an ID Card and some free personal protective clothing.

Mark Henry said the Emergency Services will be able to work with Community Emergency Volunteers as easily as they do with the regular uniformed St John Ambulance, Red Cross, Salvation Army, Cruse and other registered volunteer organisations.

He added: “This is a big step forward in national preparedness, helping to make communities ready to cope with major emergencies. It is also a great opportunity to gain a free package to aid your existing community volunteer work, whilst allowing you to become part of the wider emergency response at times when your valued support would be most needed.”

The presentation will be held in the Carriage Court at Kelham Hall, Newark on Tuesday February 28th from 6.30pm to 8pm, to provide further information and allow any interested volunteers to join the team.

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