Forum News – July 2014

July 18, 2014

Civil Defence Forum Meeting – Tuesday 15th July 2014

  1. Emergency Services Driving Standards in Civil Defence
    Technical Officer, Kevin Houston delivered a presentation on Emergency Services Driving Standards in Civil Defence.

    The Emergency Services Driving Standards Panel/Group was established and is led by the Road Safety Authority with members drawn from: the Chief Fire Officer’s Association, the National Ambulance Service, An Garda Síochána, the Irish Coast Guard, the Defence Forces, the Irish Prison Service, the Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council and Civil Defence. The group has developed a standard for emergency vehicle drivers and is facilitating putting the standard into practice.

    The agreed Emergency Services Driving Standard which is expected to be introduced early in 2015 has three levels. It is considered that ESD Level 1 proficiency will in the normal course be sufficient to meet the needs of Civil Defence. This level sets out the training, learning and assessment that will produce competent and responsible emergency service drivers.
    Training: Only RSA approved Advanced Driving Instructors (ADIs) will be permitted to instruct at Level 1. Civil Defence currently has 30 RSA approved ADIs.

    Assessment: The assessment process consists of a theoretical, on-line examination and a practical examination.

    Costs: Current indications from the RSA are that it will cost €50 per head for registration, €100 per head to sit the theoretical examination and a further €100 to take the practical driving examination.

    The overall aim of the driving standard is to benefit Emergency Services Drivers and other road users by:

    • Significantly reducing the particular risks associated with the driving of emergency services vehicles; and
    • Making sure that patients and passengers are safe and comfortable.
  2. Update on Civil Defence Website
    Technical work on the revised website has been completed. The Civil Defence Branch is currently working with the website provider on finalising content. It is now expected that the website will be launched in September.
  3. Upper Age Limit in Civil Defence
    Assistant Principal Officer, Aidan Dillon distributed a discussion paper on the issue of the ‘upper age limit for Civil Defence Volunteers’.

    Forum members were informed that, according to Civil Defence Branch records, there are currently 155 Civil Defence volunteers over the age of 65, accounting for approximately 3% of the total membership.

    While the lower age limit has recently been reviewed it is now proposed to review the upper age limit. A wide ranging consultation process will take place seeking views of County/City Managers, Civil Defence Officers and Volunteer Representatives. Discussions on the issue have also commenced with the Civil Defence Medical Advisor.

    Feedback from the Civil Defence Officers Association and the Volunteer Represetative was shared with Forum members. Their input was welcomed and will be taken into consideration as part of the review process.

    Forum members were invited to examine the discussion document and provide feedback in advance of the Autumn Forum meeting.

  4. AOB
    Forum Chairman, Bill Smith informed the meeting that, in response to recent enquiries by the Volunteer Representative, the issue of Instructor Fees was still under active consideration.

    Ministerial approval has been granted to host a ceremony to present 30, 40 & 50 year service medals to qualifying active and retired Civil Defence volunteers. It is expected the ceremony will take place before year-end.

    Forum member, Veronica Forde informed the meeting that the CDOA Training Conference/Seminar is scheduled to take place in Waterford City on 5-6 November 2014.

  5. Date of Next Forum Meeting
    The next Forum meeting is provisionally scheduled to take place on 7th/8th October 2014.