Emergency response organisations in Northamptonshire are asking people to consider making a New Year’s resolution to sign up as a volunteer.
The Northamptonshire Emergency Response Corps (NERC) is a community organisation that brings together the various agencies involved in emergency response in the county, and volunteers play a vital role.
NERC’s members include the Northamptonshire 4X4 Response Team, Northampton Emergency Aid Team and Northants Search and Rescue, which are all staffed by volunteers.
One of these volunteers is Vicky Davey, who joined the NERC a year ago after reading a local newspaper article about its work.
She said: “I pictured the numerous times our county has flooded and the many families stranded with no help in sight. I wanted to step up and help but I didn’t know how, so I went along to a volunteers evening and it all went from there.
“Becoming an NERC volunteer is incredibly rewarding and I am honoured to tell people that I am always there in time of need. There is no experience needed, all training is free and the managers and leaders are there to support you.”
Volunteers like Vicky take part in training exercises to test emergency plans and will be called upon in times of a real emergency situation such as flooding or large-scale evacuation. Their roles could include to staff reception centres, to deliver supplies to those involved in a recovery effort or to answer calls on a helpline.
Cllr André González de Savage, county council cabinet member for strategic infrastructure, economic growth and public protection, said: “The development of The Northamptonshire Emergency Response Corps should provide reassurance to people across the county that we are continually testing and improving our emergency response plans should the worst happen.
“The recent floods in Cumbria are a reminder to us all of the importance of working together to help those in need when disaster strikes and we can all play a part. People can be prepared by planning an escape route from their home in the event of an emergency, and having a grab bag packed and ready.
“We’re also looking for volunteers to join the NERC and play a greater role in making sure Northamptonshire is better prepared for a major incident.”
Volunteers don’t need to commit a minimum amount of time a month, they just need to be on-call when they can. They will also receive regular training, information and support to maintain their skills and knowledge.
Further details about the Northamptonshire Emergency Response Corps and the volunteer roles available can be found at www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/getinvolved.