East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service Community Volunteers’ Scheme has just celebrated another successful year of providing volunteer support to the Fire Service.
East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service Community Volunteers’ scheme was created to support the work of the Service in achieving its vision of ‘safer and more sustainable communities.’ Volunteers make a vital contribution by helping ESFRS provide fire and road safety information and practical support to the local community.
Volunteers have been involved in a range of activities which have included supporting staff at fire station open days, acting as role players for training activities, ‘warm calling’ householders to tell them about free home safety visits and talking to the public at big community events, such as the Heathfield Show and 999 Emergency Services Weekend.
Volunteers also support East Sussex Fire and Rescue Services with the work it carries out with partner agencies, such as Sussex Police. Initiatives include: Operation Air Walk, a road safety intervention scheme; Operation Quality Street, a community safety initiative; and joint-agency large scale training exercises, such as a simulated rail crash and a simulated fire in a secure residential unit.
The scheme began in 2009 as a pilot project in the Wealden area, with volunteers based at Heathfield fire station. Adam Chugg, Chief Executive of 3VA (the local Council for Voluntary Service in Eastbourne, Wealden and Lewes District), which manages the Scheme on behalf of ESFRS, said “The recruitment of the volunteers, undertaking activities which increase community safety, is a tremendous achievement and a testament to the passion and commitment of the Community Volunteers themselves.”
During the last year (April 2012 to March 2013) the Community Volunteers have given over 1,940 hours of their time to support the service and have attended 258 activities. In addition they have generated 183 referrals for Home Safety Visits.
Later in the year, the Fire Service will be holding a formal thank you event, where staff and volunteers will get together to celebrate the achievements of the volunteers.