The vital role performed by the Isle of Man Civil Defence Corps was highlighted during an awards ceremony to honour long-serving local volunteers.
The organisation provides support in a variety of emergency situations, working alongside agencies such as the IoM Constabulary, Fire and Rescue Service, Ambulance and Coastguard to help maintain community safety in the Island. The IoM Civil Defence has this year responded to incidents of flooding, taken part in searches for missing persons, transported people in severe weather conditions and assisted the organisers of community events.
The awards event at the i-Museum saw a total of 28 Island volunteers receive the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal from Home Affairs Minister Juan Watterson MHK. The Medal, issued to mark the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty’s Accession, acknowledges the efforts of people working in frontline emergency services.
There was also a special presentation to two stalwarts of the organisation, Stewart Kermeen and Mike Dobson, who have both completed 27 years of service. They were awarded the clasp to the Civil Defence Long Service Medal in recognition of their outstanding commitment to the Island’s ‘fifth emergency service.’
UK Cabinet Office representative Martin Klaassen, Resilience Policy Adviser and Defence Medal Officer at the Civil Contingencies Secretariat, presented the clasps and paid tribute to the dedication of the volunteers. Fewer than 90 clasps have been awarded throughout the British Isles, with members of the Isle of Man Civil Defence Corps now holding four of these prestigious honours.
During the awards ceremony, Ian Young, the IoM Government’s Emergency Planning Co-ordinator, revealed that over the past 12 months 45 local Civil Defence volunteers had completed more than 3,300 man hours on call-outs and training. This included a particularly busy weekend over June 21-22, dealing with flooding incidents and then assisting the organisers of the Parish Walk. More recently, volunteers provided 190 man hours over a 24-hour period helping with the search for a vulnerable missing person.
Minister Watterson said:
‘The Isle of Man has a fine tradition of looking after people in their time of need and the Civil Defence Corps is an important part of the resilience that allows us to prepare for and respond to emergencies, whatever the scale. Civil Defence is a special organisation: like an insurance policy, you hope you’ll never need them, but if things go wrong you know they’ll be there to help. The commitment shown by Stewart Kermeen and Mike Dobson, and indeed all those involved with Civil Defence, is testament to the great community spirit of our Island.’
Mark Kelly, Chief Executive Officer at the Department of Home Affairs, presented Mr Klaassen with an Isle of Man Civil Defence shield and the awards ceremony was followed by a buffet at Douglas Bay Yacht Club hosted by the Civil Defence Association.