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Civil Defence seeking to recruit new members 20 August 2008

PEOPLE with a strong sense of adventure and community spirit are being invited to join one of the Island’s key voluntary organisations.

The Isle of Man Civil Defence Corps is launching a recruitment drive in a bid to attract a fresh intake of members. Volunteers provide support in a variety of emergency situations, working alongside frontline agencies such as the Constabulary, Fire and Rescue Service and Coastguard to help maintain community safety.

Full training is provided to equip new recruits with the skills to assist in missing person searches, first aid, flood response, CBRN incidents, evacuations, off-road driving, catering and radio communications. Membership is open to anybody aged between 18 and 60 years who is physically fit, honest, reliable and enjoys working as part of team.

It is also essential to maintain a cheerful demeanour when occasionally turning out in the middle of a cold, wet night to attend an emergency call-out. Potential new members must make a commitment to attend weekly training sessions which take place from 8-10pm on Wednesday nights. In return they will be paid a modest annual retainer, issued with a uniform and provided with access to wide array of specialist training, vehicles and equipment.

The Isle of Man Civil Defence Corps is overseen by the Emergency Planning Office at the Department of Home Affairs and an open evening is being staged at Homefield on Woodbourne Road, Douglas, from 8pm on Wednesday, September 10. This event will provide anybody interested in joining with an opportunity to meet and chat to other volunteers.

Minister for Home Affairs Adrian Earnshaw MHK said:

‘Membership of the Civil Defence Corps can be a passport to acquiring new skills and forging lasting friendships. The organisation provides a vital link with the emergency services and has a very proud reputation based on the continued hard work of its volunteers. This latest recruitment campaign offers a chance to put something back into the local community and I would urge anybody interested to obtain an information pack or attend the open evening in September.’

Membership of the Civil Defence Corps drops from time to time as volunteers move off Island or find themselves unable to attend the requisite number of training sessions because of a change in family or work commitments. Introducing a large group of recruits in a planned and structured manner has proved to be a more effective way of maintaining numbers than taking on volunteers on an ad hoc basis.

Attention can then be focussed on training the new members and identifying and developing their skills and strengths in order to slot them into one of five dedicated teams. The Civil Defence Corps is made up of people from a variety of different working backgrounds such as tradesmen, legal professionals, ex-regular service personnel and those from the finance sector.

Emergency Planning Officer Martin Blackburn said:

‘We have a real cross-section of the community and part of the attraction of the organisation is the camaraderie amongst its members. We can offer people the opportunity to learn something new, stimulating and exciting and to put those skills into practice while working alongside others from different walks of life. Teamwork is absolutely essential and we promote a lot of social activities to encourage team bonding and commitment to the organisation. Most of our members have full-time jobs and have to juggle other commitments, but we find that local employers are extremely co-operative as they recognise the role volunteers play in helping the community.’

Mr Blackburn added:

‘The Isle of Man Civil Defence is effectively an additional emergency service. Volunteers have helped to pump seawater into artificial reservoirs for firefighters tackling the Bradda Head blaze, set up temporary rest centres for people evacuated from their homes, provided medical and communications back-up during Parish Walk and assisted in missing person searches. When the phone rings you just don’t know what is going to happen next.’

Anybody interested in joining the Isle of Man Civil Defence Corps can obtain an information pack and application form from Martin Blackburn or Ian Young at 88, Woodbourne Road, Douglas, IM2 3AP, telephone 694316 or 694317. Alternatively, turn up at the open evening on Wednesday, September 10, at 8pm.

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