Engin’s Vox Pop Tête-à-Tête – 29/9/2013

Steve Collard and Claire Lamb

Civil Emergency Services Volunteers (CESV) 

By Engin Dervișağa

Engin and the CESV
Engin and the CESV

I recently visited the home of Steve Collard who is the Director of Operations for CESV, where there were also Claire Lamb, Bob Lamb and Andy King on hand to give some demonstrations of the life-saving methods carried out by CESV volunteers in the TRNC.

Firstly I spoke to Steve to find out what the CESV is all about.  Steve explained the functions of CESV and its volunteers.   The organisation was founded some 10 years ago by Terry Carter who had been asked by the then President, Rauf Denktaş to help with the setting up of an emergency service in North Cyprus.  Following the death of one of his sons in a road accident, President Denktaş was aware of the need for a quick response unit to deal with emergencies.  The organisation originally came under TKOD which was the road traffic accident association and then it became Cyprus Emergency Service Volunteers.    There are currently around 35 dedicated volunteers and Steve took over from Terry Carter in May 2013 when he returned permanently to the UK.

Steve Collard speaks to Engin Dervisaga
Steve Collard speaks to Engin Dervisaga

Steve continued to explain to me the type of training which is given, including the forest fire service where basic first aid training has been carried out in Yeşiltepe and Yeni Erenköy.  There is also much more comprehensive training given to the Police and Fire Service over a 3-day work course.  Some schools have also had training for their pupils including the English School of Kyrenia where 9-11 year olds were given training.   Creditwest Bank have also had a series of training courses for their staff.   The list is endless and Steve emphasised that the more people who have some basic first aid training, the more likely a life can be saved in an emergency.

Bob Lamb then demonstrated CPR with the use of a training mannequin and gave some information on what to look for to establish if a patient is still breathing.  Steve then demonstrated how to deal with a person who has something lodged in their throat, again with a training mannequin and explained various ways to try and deal with this, also a much gentler version in the case of a baby with something lodged in its throat.

Dealing with a choking person
Dealing with a choking person

 Recording the programme, it made me realise that you really need to know what you are doing and this is the whole purpose of CESV – training is the key and a basic knowledge could mean that help could be given in an emergency situation.

As well as training, CESV also cover a lot of events where there are to be crowds of people attending, such as rugby matches and concerts.  Rugby, being rather a rough game will usually have its percentage of casualties amongst the players and CESV are normally able to deal with a lot of the injuries themselves.

CESV are hoping to expand and urgently need more volunteers so Steve said if  anyone has the time and think they can offer something, CESV would be pleased to see them at their twice monthly training sessions at St Andrew’s Church Hall in Girne, the first and third Monday of each month from 7.15pm to 9.15pm.

There is also the new dedicated telephone number for people to register their blood group with their local hospital, when they can be contacted in the case of an emergency.  The number is 0542 8800 112,  so again there is something which can be done to give something back to the community.

Checking a person for injuries before placing them in the recovery position
Checking a person for injuries before placing them in the recovery position

I then had a chat with Claire Lamb who is a Trainer and first responder in the Tatlisu area.  Claire worked as a Pharmacy Technician in the UK and when she came to North Cyprus 5 years ago she and her husband felt they would like to be able to contribute something to the community and so joined CESV.   It is hoped to do more training in her area and to spread the word about CESV so that people realise there are people ready to help, and hopefully this may result in more volunteers coming forward.

Claire said that although the group does a lot of work, it is not all hard, there are some social events and even when they are carrying out training sessions they are able to meet so many new people and make new friends and acquaintances.

Claire acted as the “patient”  while Andy demonstrated what to do if you suddenly find someone unconscious lying on the ground, and how to check all of the body and the limbs and put the patient in the recovery position while waiting for the emergency services to arrive.

For more information call Steve Collard the CESV,  Operations Director on 0548 845 5927 or visit their website  http://www.cesvtrnc.com/home.html