The Organisation progressed from covering 14 local events in 2002 to 32 events in 2003, involving the participation of 324 volunteers. This is by no means an easy feat when it is taken into account that all the Civil Defence personnel’s time was given voluntarily to assist the community.
Sligo Civil Defence volunteers were to the fore in assisting at the Special Olympics opening and closing ceremonies in June. This event held over 2 weekends and 25 volunteers at a time from Sligo attended each ceremony.
A lot of hard work went into the preparation of these games. It was a first for Ireland and the first time they were held out side of the U.S. In July Westlife played their first concert in Sligo where Civil Defence was again involved in the roles of stewarding and first aid.
Both of these events being a once off had to be catered to and at the same time our regular events could not be put on the back burner, and the Civil Defence volunteers came through with flying colours. When asked to assist the answer was
"No problem just tell us when and where"
Organisation development continued with active recruitment at every opportunity, resulting in 15 new volunteers joining at the return of the winter training sessions in October. Our overall plan is to maintain our numbers of volunteers at the level we have become accustomed to in order to be in a position to answer the call of duty when required.
The Sligo team travelled Strokestown in May for the Regional Pump Drill competition where Cavan came out on top; Sligo Civil Defence was also represented in Carlow at National final, and returned to Cavan in October to take part in the National exercise with teams from Dublin, Kildare, Galway, Donegal, Offaly and Roscommon. This annual event is very important in the volunteers’ calendar where they get the opportunity to put their skills to the task and at the same time learn new ways to master new skills. It also provides us with an opportunity to network with our counterparts from around the country and share news and ideas.
UHF and VHF marine radio training was held this year with 17 volunteers taking and passing the UHF examination from which 5 were successful in being accepted to progress to further training in Dublin. Eight volunteers attended the Marine VHF radio course and successfully obtaining a licence to operate this facility.
Five volunteers completed their advanced first aid training and exams, which brings them to ambulance level in first aid. Six successfully completed their intermediate first aid exams. Civil Defence volunteers were honoured in being nominated for a Cathaoirleach’s award for their outstanding contribution to the community and were presented with their certificate at a function hosted by the Cathaoirleach in May 2003.
During October / November Civil Defence instructors ran 2 x 3 day Occupational first aid courses for staff and 2 x 1 day courses for the curious with 18 staff members qualifying as Occupational first aiders. Certificates to be issued to the successful participants at a later stage.
It is planned to hold a training workshop day in the winter of 2004 which is open to all volunteers and will give both the new and seasoned volunteers the opportunity to see what various skills are available within the organisation, and this will be followed by the presentation of certificates to the successful volunteers and long service medals (10 year and 20 year).
The new Civil Defence Board came into being this year and is making great strides in correlating input from all sectors, including the volunteers, in putting a strategy together to identify the short and medium term goals for the organisation. This will see many changes and it is hoped that the volunteers will continue to give of their time so freely for the betterment of the organisation, and that the organisation will continue to recognise the commitment and dedication of the volunteers in assisting their local and the wider community.