We see volunteer firefighters; volunteer workers and private rescue workers work valiantly alongside firefighters as their partners in times of accident or disaster. For example, 27 private rescue workers brought 14 vehicle loads of supplies and overcame collapsed roads into the disaster zone in the event where visitors were trapped at Ming-Chi Resort during the Nesat Typhoon this year (2022) and did a great job delivering the life-saving supplies and escorting visitors for evacuation. Private organizations can do much more than the government. The cooperation between the government and private sector improves the overall disaster prevention and protection performance very effectively.
Ministry of the Interior points out that there are approximately 6,300 volunteer workers in Taiwan in 192 volunteer disaster prevention and protection teams. For the enhancement of volunteer workers’ capacity for duty assistance, National Fire Agency (NFA) takes the initiative in several projects and provided NT$ 19.26 million in financial support, with the matching funding of NT$ 34.23 million provided by local governments. The funding was spent on disaster rescue equipment and supplies based on the characteristics of jurisdiction and expertise of volunteer teams, such as diver’s tracking devices, battery-powered jaws of life, and 360-degree mobile lighting devices, in total 535 items of disaster prevention and protection devices and equipment. In addition, lightweight, strength-saving, and high-performance equipment were introduced to reduce the physical burdens of rescuers and match the practical needs of the first line of disaster prevention and protection.
Also for the enhancement of volunteer workers’ capacity for duty assistance, NFA has provided comprehensive professional disaster rescue training in recent years that covers mountains, waters, land, and first aids in response to combined disasters. This year, the NFA training center, the largest training ground in Asia, was selected for swift water rescue training. 13 sessions of this training were provided as of the end of October and training certificates were issued to 692 trainees.
Ministry of the Interior indicates that natural disasters are difficult to predict. However, the central and local governments are always on the move to strengthen disaster response capability through various training and exercise activities. All citizens are urged to prepare for disaster and those who are interested in disaster prevention and protection are encouraged to join the rank of volunteer workers. Information is available at local fire departments. Let’s protect our homes.