[Formerly known as The Accredited Volunteers]
While the emergency services, councils and other government agencies deal directly with major incidents in our county, part of the planned response is from the swift and organised help of the Gloucestershire Emergency Support Team.
Train crashes, air accidents, chemical releases, explosions, major road traffic collisions, heavy snow, flooding, large scale public disorder or a fire at a large public event – these are just a few examples of incidents that could see the team mobilised.
The Emergency Support Team was previously called The Accredited Volunteers Scheme. Team volunteers are trained and accredited to provide care and help for anyone who needs it. Their key role is at rest centres, working together with councils and the police to help people who have been displaced or stranded and are unable to return home.
In the 2007 Gloucestershire Floods the Emergency Support Team helped staff rest centres when hundreds of people were forced from their homes or unable to get home due to flooded roads, providing them with shelter, beds and food. In May 2012 rest centres were opened for several days and nights after homes in Cheltenham were evacuated following an explosives find in a garage. Just hours before that, a gas explosion just a few miles away in Rosehill Street, saw the volunteers provide support when neighbouring properties were declared unsafe for residents.
Thankfully, major incidents where large numbers of people require shelter are rare, but we’re lucky enough to know that we can rely on the Gloucestershire Emergency Support Team should we need help.
The team is managed by Gloucestershire County Council and takes volunteers from staff and former staff from public sector organisations, Gloucestershire Churches Together, faith communities in Gloucestershire, Rotary International, The Salvation Army, St John Ambulance and the Royal Voluntary Service.
We’re currently looking for other large employers across the county to help us build our volunteer base so that we can strengthen our team. With many employers offering volunteer days, it could be a great opportunity for staff to develop their skills and help their communities. If you believe your organisation can help please get in touch.