The Emergency Response Open Day in Portsmouth provided an excellent opportunity for Serve On volunteers to showcase their considerable capabilities to emergency services and other organisations.
The Voluntary Agency (Coordination) Cell (VAC) that we are pioneering, and that Serve On members built a skeleton version of inside Portsmouth Guildhall, was of particular interest to open day visitors.
Serve On’s VAC is an excellent way to maximise the considerable value of voluntary response organisations and spontaneous volunteers in a severe weather event, such as flooding, or other crisis.
Built and manned by highly-trained Serve On volunteers, it acts as a force multiplier for emergency services and Local Resilience Forums while also relieving them of the extra work of harnessing that voluntary help.
We had members of our Community Resilience Teams and International Response Team on hand to explain the workings of the VAC and the other help we offer to communities in times of need.
The open day also gave members of the public the chance to see the workings of disaster relief, including geo-mapping, flood relief, and rescuing those stranded at sea or on mountains or after earthquakes.
There were demonstrations, displays and talks from those working at the frontline of emergency services worldwide, and talks from University researchers into disaster management and response.
The event is part of the annual SIMEX series, the world’s largest annual international disaster simulation exercise, run by the University of Portsmouth and Hampshire Fire and Rescue.
Phil Crook, SIMEX Series Director, said: “This event is a great opportunity for the public to find out about the skilled, dedicated and effective emergency response personnel who respond to events here in the UK and around the world.
“They represent the very best organisations in the country and further afield.”