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21 years of support for disaster team
A TEAM of volunteers providing crucial roundthe-clock support for major incidents around North Yorkshire is celebrating its 21st birthday.
The county was the first in the country to set up a Major Incident Response Team in the wake of the 1980s “decade of disasters” – including the Lockerbie air crash, Zeebrugge ferry sinking, Kegworth air crash and the Kings Cross fire.
It followed a Government report in 1991 which recommended there should be a co-ordinated public sector response to support anyone caught up in such traumatic events.
The report found that while the immediate response involving the rescue of survivors functioned reasonably effectively, there was a need for trained personnel to offer emotional and practical support to the public at a time of potential vulnerability.
The North Yorkshire team, which is recognised as a ‘best practice’ service, has developed and evolved in the past 21 years to match everincreasing professional and public expectations.
During the recent floods the team has been on the ground managing evacuations, giving reassurance and helping to provide people with bedding, clothing and food and giving them as much information as possible.
And over the last 21 years the response team has provided crucial support to families, friends and communities on many occasions at times of crisis, including the Great Heck train crash, where ten died, and the Dunkeswick air crash, which claimed the lives of 12 people.
The county council’s executive member for health and adult services, Clare Wood, said: “This is a very dedicated, skilled, trusted and effective team of volunteers drawn from around the county who perform crucial work.
“Whenever we have a major incident they are there on the ground alongside the emergency services, providing information, a reassuring presence and putting in place any necessary and practical support for people caught up in trauma.”