- What is Civil Defence / What do we do?
Civil Defence is a volunteer-based emergency response organization. Civil Defence supports the frontline emergency services, e.g. in dealing with severe weather or searching for missing people. We also carry out community support activities, e.g. providing first aid cover at both local and national events.
Civil Defence operates at national level under the Department of Defence. Services, such as, Medical Response, Search & Rescue and Emergency Response, are delivered locally through Local Authorities. Each Local Authority has a Civil Defence Officer who oversees the organising and recruitment of volunteers. The Civil Defence Officer acts as the link between the volunteer, community, local authority and the organisation nationally.
- How to join Civil Defence?
To join the Civil Defence organisation please contact the Civil Defence Officer in your local authority area. Contact details for all Civil Defence Officers are available on the Home Page under How to Join or by clicking on this link. All new members must complete an enrolment form and undergo Garda vetting.
- What is the minimum age limit for membership of Civil Defence?
A person joining Civil Defence must be 18 years of age on the date of Enrolment.
- What skills do I need to join?/What training/services are available?
Civil Defence offer members the opportunity to train in a variety of skills and to learn new techniques that will not only assist your local community in the event of an emergency but will also enhance your own personal development. Centrally run training courses, which run from January to May and again from September to December, are offered in the following areas:
Medical Response – Civil Defence provides pre-hospital training and certification from Responder to Practitioner levels. All training is delivered by experienced instructors and is certified to national standards.
Search & Rescue – training in urban rescue, open country search for missing persons and water based search and recovery. It also includes the operation of drones.
Emergency Response – this includes training in certain areas of firefighting such as pump and ladder drills. Pumping floodwaters and supplying water and emergency supports to the community. We have volunteers trained in aftercare for disaster victims. We also have volunteers trained in food preparation in accordance with HACCP standards. Communications – training in VHF, UHF, TETRA and marine VHF radio operations and procedures including the familiarisation and correct use of all items of radio equipment operated by Civil Defence.
Radiation Monitoring – training in the measurement of background radiation at specified locations throughout the country. The Service also collects samples of water, milk, meat, vegetables etc throughout the country for laboratory testing by the EPA in order to give a nationwide picture of radiation spread.
Community Assistance – Civil Defence assist at hundreds of community events every year. These range from major national events to smaller local events including parades festivals, sporting events, charity events and local authority events. Support can take many forms including medical cover and safety boat cover.
- How much time do I have to give?
Volunteers normally attend for training for about two hours per week. After completing initial training, they are expected to make themselves available for duties such as providing first-aid cover at community events. Volunteers may also be called on at short notice to e.g. search for missing people.
- Who can call out a Civil Defence team?
Civil Defence responds to emergency calls for assistance from the Gardaí, Fire Service, HSE, Local Authorities, Irish Coastguard and Government Departments. Civil Defence is not a 999 service and does not e.g. assist with missing person searches unless requested by the Gardai.Community events are assisted, where possible, subject to the availability of resources. To request Civil Defence assistance at a public event, please contact your local Civil Defence Officer. A list of Civil Defence Units is available by clicking here.