The City Police in Kochi are working towards having 1,000 members of the public trained to handle emergency situations and ready to assist them, by the end of three to four months.

This step of getting 1,000 members of the public trained to handle emergency situations and assist them is being taken as part of the Citizen for Security, another unique community participation initiative being tried out by the City Police.

The scheme was inaugurated by Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, Minister for Home, in the last week of May and the first batch of 85 volunteers was trained last week. “The first batch had volunteers from all walks of life and next month, we are planning to focus on autorickshaw and taxi drivers, as they are the first contact point in society when an emergency situation breaks out,” K. Padmakumar, Inspector General of Police, Ernakulam Range told The Hindu.

Once the targeted strength of 1,000 volunteers is achieved, the project will proceed to the second phase with regular mock drills and frequent interactions between volunteers and authorities. “A detailed database of the volunteers with contact numbers and photographs will be prepared. The project, being a pilot concept, is being properly documented at every stage. Our aim is to make it part of the system by ensuring plan funds are allotted for it during next financial year,” said Mr. Padmakumar.

First ring of defence

The concept was mooted by the City Police as the first ring of defence mechanism to counter emergency situations. “The first half-an-hour response to a disaster is crucial in rescue operations. This is more vital for a district like Ernakulam, which has many chemical and industrial units,” he said.

The two-day training for the first batch of volunteers selected from residents’ associations in the city was held at the City Traffic police station conference hall on Saturday and Sunday. City Police Commissioner M.R. Ajith Kumar inaugurated the conference.

K.P. Sethumadhavan, FACT plant safety manager, led the classes on chemical emergency management; Laurence, Circle Inspector with the bomb squad of Thiruvananthapuram City Police, on identifying explosive materials and precautions to be taken in handling them; Sreekrishnan and Sabarish, doctors with Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, on first-aid and Amal Raj, assistant professor at the Institute of Land and Disaster Management, on precautionary measures to be adopted against manmade or natural disasters.

Training programmes will be organised in the last weekend of every month and those interested should get in touch with the office of V.H. Mohammed Rafique, Assistant Commissioner, City Traffic Police (West), who is the district nodal officer, call 94979 32950.

More In: Kochi