In Ernakulam, civil defence force volunteers all geared up to support fire force

Civil defence volunteers operating ham radio at a fire station in Ernakulam district.  

With untimely heavy rain lashing the State, the Fire and Rescue Services Department has mobilised its civil defence volunteers across all 18 fire stations in Ernakulam district for support during emergencies.

At any given point of time, 180 to 200 trained volunteers remain ready for action across the district. Another 300 to 400 well-trained volunteers also remain on standby to swing into action, depending on the gravity of the situation. The activities of the civil defence force in the district are being coordinated by District Fire Officer A.S. Jogy.

“Our volunteers remain part of the rapid response teams formed in all fire stations in the wake of the release of water from the reservoirs. In fact, we have mobilised two types of volunteers – ones who can serve locally and the others ready to be deployed outside the district. The 21-member fire force team from the district deployed at Kokkayar in Idukki had 21 of our volunteers,” said Binu Mitran, Ernakulam Divisional Warden, Civil Defence.

Ham radio operators

Expert ham radio operators among the civil defence volunteers have been deployed in seven fire stations, including Aluva, Perumbavoor, Piravom, Kothamangalam, Vypeen, and North Paravur, catering to extremely vulnerable areas. They remain connected to the control room at the Gandhi Nagar fire station. The service of expert ham radio operators outside the civil defence force has also been roped in.

“As part of advance preparations, we had erected permanent antennas to facilitate ham radio operations in all these fire stations months ago. Our volunteers are also managing police wireless sets at fire stations to facilitate a single-point information dissemination for speedy and effective response,” said Mr. Mitran.

Relief, rescue missions

Civil defence volunteers had also set up pickets along the rivers from Kothamangalam to North Paravur ahead of the release of water from the dams to constantly monitor the situation and issue alerts every two hours. They gave instructions to people living along the river banks on preparing emergency kits, precautions to be taken, and camps to be shifted to, if needed.

The volunteers are also being entrusted with managing rafts, dinghies, life jackets and other equipment to be deployed in the event of relief and rescue missions. They are in charge of boats being kept at stations for emergency deployment.

“We are collating the activity reports of volunteers at each fire station daily and submitting them to the authorities concerned,” said Mr. Mitran.

The district now has over 4,600 civil defence volunteers with a minimum of 50 volunteers in each fire station. Out of these, 463 have received State-level training and 500 have district-level training whereas another 600-700 have either received the station-level training or are on the verge of it. The State Government has assigned the volunteers special uniforms, reflective jackets, caps, boots, and metal badges.

“We have been able to attract more service-oriented people to the force in keeping with our motto ‘Join civil defence and serve the nation’,” said Mr. Mitran.

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Printable version | Dec 8, 2021 3:25:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/in-ernakulam-civil-defence-force-volunteers-all-geared-up-to-support-fire-force/article37104782.ece

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