Our group was formed in November 2014 following an initial idea from Scottish Government, which was progressed through Largs Community Council. Largs is geographically remote and in the summertime the town almost doubles in size with tourists. Winters can be tough with coastal flooding and roads into the town blocked with snow, fallen trees or where the waves crash over the coast road.
The town already relies on a host of volunteer and part-time emergency services but the idea of having a trained group, drawn from the wider community, who could be called upon in times of need, appealed. We recruited 60 members of the public and they have been trained by all three of the main emergency services and now have a good understanding of command & control at incidents and what would be expected of them. We have also undertaken training in basic skills such as map reading and first aid.
The challenge with a group like this is that in a serious situation we could be asked to do just about anything, from helping to open a rest centre and make cups of tea right through to helping search for a missing person. That means our training has to reflect this and be broad ranging. We meet one evening a month with a set training plan, which helps to keep the group working as a team and we have outdoor exercises planned for the summer months. Taking advice from the local authority and emergency services as to what kit we should buy, the group has invested in equipment to allow us to operate professionally and this includes hi-vis jackets, radios, first aid kits, hard hats and torches.
We hope that nothing serious will ever happen within our community but being realistic and looking back over the years, we know that one day it will. It is essential that communities are able to help look after themselves and even be able to manage a crisis while help is on the way and that what our Team is all about.