Ken Spencer, FESS project manager, and Finbar Dunne pictured outside the Irish Red Cross headquarters in Claremorris.Photo: Alison Laredo

Red cross mayo project gearing up for traumatic events

A PILOT project to assist the emergency services is to be launched in Mayo by the Irish Red Cross, writes Tom Gillespie.

The aim of the drive, unique to Ireland, is to provide immediate practical and emotional support to people who have witnessed or been affected by traumatic events. This will include important signposting to other helpful services, temporary accommodation, emergency food and refreshments, assistance with notification of insurers, calling relatives or family, helping people in distress with practical support, advice and listening.

The Mayo branch of the Red Cross are seeking a minimum of 20 volunteers with a wide variety of backgrounds to make up the Fire and Emergency Support Service (FESS).

Gert Venghaus, assistant area director, Irish Red Cross Mayo, said: “The FESS team will take care of people in the immediate aftermath of a particular stressful or traumatic event. We will provide assistance to people after traumatic events such as floods, house fires, evacuations, major accidents or in the aftermath of storms.

“In such tragic circumstances the FESS team will provide immediate emergency and psychosocial support and will help linking those  affected with specialised services and agencies. The members of the team will provide urgently needed support to affected individuals in real difficulty.”

The volunteers will undergo a period of intensive initial training.

Those who are willing to be considered can contact Gert on (087) 3526960 or Ken Spencer, area director of units (Co. Mayo) on (087) 7488361.