Emergency Management Unit
EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT UNIT VOLUNTEERS
The Emergency Management Unit Volunteer Corps was established in 2013 to provide logistical support to Fingal County Council in relation to its responsibilities under a Framework for Major Emergency Management.
Major Emergencies are thankfully rare in Ireland and as such it can be difficult to maintain people in a suitable state of readiness and training to fulfil critical tasks in the initial response to any Major Emergency.
The volunteers come from various backgrounds including public sector and semi state management, engineering, academic, administrative, self-employed, retail, general operative and automotive. Some volunteers come from staff within Fingal County Council itself but they volunteer their time with the unit and receive no remuneration. Equally, all volunteers external to Fingal County Council receive no remuneration. All volunteers receive training in a range of skills and each one is provided with uniform and the personal protective equipment required in order to carry out their roles.
In 2014, just under 3,000hrs were provided by the volunteers which broke down into 53 regular training exercises, 39 events and 2 incidents. The top five volunteers provided in excess of 200 hrs each in 2014 or equivalent to 25 eight hour days each.
The EMU volunteers provide immediate support in any incident and are familiar with the equipment, the radio network and the principles of Major Emergency Management. In general, the volunteers are self-starters who have good practical problem solving skills. They are trained to carry out dynamic risk assessments regarding their tasks and functions to ensure that they are delivered in a safe and competent way. The EMU volunteers can be a major support to fulltime council staff in the event of a major incident.
The unit also provides support to other sections of the council, such as Water Services, Environment and in particular the Events unit. This allows the volunteers to utilise their skills and equipment in live situations where they must deliver certain tasks within particular timeframes and adapt their role as the situation demands. In establishing the EMU Volunteer unit, Fingal County Council addressed a particular gap in Major Emergency Management planning. This strategy also followed best practice from other jurisdictions such as the USA, Australia and Germany where the use of volunteers for key strategic and logistical support functions for Major Emergency response is well established.
The unit has received compliments about their level of professionalism and overall knowledge from other Agencies, Local Authorities, Dublin Fire Brigade, event companies and Government Departments.