MOST of us prefer not to think about what could go wrong, so it is a good thing we have the Civil Defence to do our thinking for us.
The job of the Civil Defence is to make contingency plans for those life-threatening emergencies and man-made or natural disasters we all hope will never happen – but sometimes do.
Assistant emergency planning officer Ian Young talked about his role in charge of the Civil Defence when he addressed the Northern Ladies Luncheon Club.
With the aid of slides, he explained that the Civil Defence is part of the Department of Home Affairs and is manned by 50 wonderful volunteers, men and women from all walks of life who give up weekends and holidays to train. Because the island is so isolated, it needs an emergency planning strategy for when bad weather disrupts the ferry service and the supermarket shelves begin to empty, for when there is a gas leak and people need to be evacuated from their homes, or for when there is an unexpected heavy fall of snow, etc.
The Civil Defence might also be needed to assist the police in looking for missing persons, to provide lighting and cordoning for the police, to carry out hill search and rescue, to mop up after floods and clear up debris after a storm, to transport patients to hospital when roads are closed due to snow and provide shelter for when people are evacuated from their homes.
Civil Defence is represented in the Emergency Services Joint Control Room that centralises all the emergency services.
Heads of each division meet in the ‘gold command suite’ to agree on a joined-up approach in times of a major incident.
The best way to think of the Civil Defence, he suggested, is in terms of it being an insurance policy in case the worst happens – in the hope that it never does.
The luncheon was held at Ramsey Golf Club and was enjoyed by around 60 people.
Mr Young was thanked for his informative and entertaining talk.