More volunteers required to help keep Derbyshire residents safe and services moving

The emergency volunteers team are on the look out for more people who're willing to help out.

Community-minded residents are being asked by Derbyshire County Council to help keep people safe and services moving during emergencies.

The council’s emergency volunteers are on standby to help out with issues such as helping people evacuated from their houses after an incident or supporting older or vulnerable people during severe weather.

The council currently has around 80 emergency volunteers, but more recruits are needed to join the team. 

Someone who already gives his time to help Derbyshire residents in emergencies is Ian Edmundson from Chesterfield.

He signed up as an Emergency Volunteer around five years ago and says being involved in his local community really helps him feel connected and proud to give something back.

“I’ve done a few exercises and training and it’s been good fun,” said the retired engineer.

“If you don’t want to go out, you don’t have to – if you get called and you’re not available you can just say no.

“I’ve been in Chesterfield for four years and I’m trying to build myself into the community and get involved, basically.

“They’re a nice group of people – if you’ve got the time and you want to help people then go for it!”

The county council set up Derbyshire Emergency Volunteers in 2012 to provide support for residents who have to be evacuated from their homes following a major incident such as a fire or gas leak as well as during severe weather or health incidents.   

Volunteers work alongside the council’s emergency planning team, adult care staff and other local agencies to make sure evacuees have what they need while staying in a rest centre – a building such as a leisure centre or village hall used during an evacuation.

The work could involve:

  • Reception – welcoming people at the door of the rest centre, taking their name, giving them a leaflet and giving them a wristband
  • Registration – taking more details including phone numbers etc.
  • Making hot drinks and refreshments
  • Staffing an information point

In severe weather some in 4x4s could drive to help people, or in a flu pandemic they could pick up anti-viral drugs and drop them at a person’s house.

Volunteers come from all sorts of backgrounds and are given full training – including an induction day – as well as opportunities to gain a qualification in food hygiene.

There’s also the chance to take part in training exercises.

Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member for Health and Communities Councillor Carol Hart said: “Our fantastic team of emergency volunteers do a great job, putting themselves out in all types of weather and situations to help out when needed.

“We’re always on the lookout for new recruits and volunteering for this role is a brilliant opportunity to gain some useful transferable skills and give back to the community.

“It’s a great experience for young people and really stands out on a CV when applying for jobs – we’re really keen to hear from more people hoping to sign up.”

Applicants need to be aged 18 or over. No special skills or qualifications are needed.

Volunteers will need to have a DBS enhanced check – to work with vulnerable adults and children and will be paid expenses incurred during training or in response to an incident, such as mileage.

Residents interested in volunteering can find out more and register their interest at www.derbyshire.gov.uk/emergencyvolunteers

Alternatively call Paula McDonald in Derbyshire County Council’s emergency planning team on 01629 538363 or email paula.mcdonald@derbyshire.gov.uk



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