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Emergency Planning student on study exchange visit to Chicago 3 April 2007

ISLE OF MAN Civil Defence volunteer David Cowley is flying to Chicago on Monday (April 2) on a study exchange visit.

David, 30, from Braddan, is studying for a degree in Disaster Management from Teesside University. He has been a Civil Defence volunteer on the Island for five years and keeps up his training during the holidays. On Monday he will start a month-long visit to Chicago, funded by NorthWest Rotary Clubs including the Isle of Man. He is making the return part of a study exchange following a visit last year by firefighters and other emergency services personnel from Boston, who spent two days on the Isle of Man during their visit to the UK.

David commented:Isle of Man Civil Defence volunteer David Cowley

‘Everyone I have spoken to involved with the Group Study Exchange has said it changed their lives when they did their own visits.
‘From a personal development point of view, I am looking forward to speaking to my counterparts in Chicago, and seeing first hand how they deal with disasters and day to day emergencies. I believe there will be plenty of new or different ways to deal with emergencies for me to suggest on my return. I know when speaking to the group who visited last year, they learned a lot from us in the UK, especially in regard to firefighting and surveillance. I also think that the visit will enable me to bring up various ideas or methods that we have been taught at university and see how these can work or not, in ‘real world’ scenarios.’

The visit will be hosted by Rotarians in Chicago and will involve David attending various training exercises with the area’s police and fire departments and even a SWAT team.

He went on:

‘Another important benefit for me taking this visit now is that I am in the final year of my degree and am looking at specialising in a particular area for my Masters. As we are going to experience a variety of different disciplines, I feel I will be able to see what area of emergency management I should specialise in.’

Emergency Planning Officer Martin Blackburn said the opportunity for David to go on the study exchange was much appreciated by the Island’s Civil Defence corps. He commented:

‘We’re very grateful to Sir Miles Walker and the Island’s Rotary Clubs for offering this great opportunity to David.
‘It shows the international dimension of emergency planning and I’m sure David will return with a greater appreciation of how the emergency services can and should work together. The Isle of Man is leading the way in its co-ordinated approach to emergency services and David will be able to spread the word about that.’

David added:

‘Along with the personal development aspect of the trip, it also gives me the opportunity to represent the Isle of Man. I am extremely proud to be Manx, and to be able to represent my home country and to tell others about our wonderful Island. The GSE group is giving presentations at a number of Rotary clubs around Chicago and at the Illinois District conference. I have ensured that the Island is presented with its variety of history, important contributions to the world and the work we do in the Civil Defence, quite a demand given I only have a four minute slot!
‘It’s a very exciting visit in prospect and one I believe will be invaluable for my career in Emergency Management in years to come.’

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