x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Volunteers training in emergency services

The Emirates Foundation is planning to train volunteers to join firemen and other emergency crews in times of crisis.

The Emirates Foundation is planning to train volunteers to join firemen and other emergency crews in times of crisis. They will be taught about search-and-rescue missions, putting out fires and crisis management procedures, including helping the various agencies co-ordinate better with each other in the event of a disaster. Maytha al Habsi, the director of Takatof, the foundation's volunteer programme, told a meeting of GCC volunteer organisations on Monday: "The Government alone cannot solve all the problems."

Ahmed al Ketbi, senior project developer at Takatof, said it had chosen a model used in Sweden, which focuses on responding to crises in groups. She recalled the heavy winds that devastated Kalba and several areas in Fujairah in March. "We had a crisis and we discovered that we really need rescue volunteers. "We did have Red Crescent teams on the spot who are more specialised and have more experience than us, but we need to co-ordinate between the Red Crescent, volunteers and the Government during the crisis."

She said they had visited several countries including the US, Italy and Sweden and looked at the schemes run there. Takatof was launched in 2007. Its first programme saw 100 volunteers renovate Zayed bin al Khattab school in Fujairah. hdajani@thenational.ae