Rescue volunteers commended

Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat Control Room, Pett Level

To recognise and celebrate emergency service control-room employees who often go unnoticed and quietly deal with traumatic, life-changing situations daily, the very first International Control Room Week is being held from October 22 to 28

At the Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat (PLIRB) this very much epitomises what we’re doing and how we go about it, but for one small detail – there’s no “employee” element. Everyone involved in the PLIRB charity is a volunteer, something which is also true for many of our contemporaries from other services with which we work.

But whether employee or volunteer, being in the control room in a rescue situation can be just as vital to a situation as being at the front-end of the scene.

Less risky on the face of it, certainly, given some of the rescue situations crews encounter, but with its own hidden risks too – some of what is heard or needs to be passed across in communications is stressful and often has a personal impact – yet staying calm, controlled and efficient is essential for offering maximum support to those involved in the situation.

Regular control room communications and radio training is vital for supporting colleagues at sea or at other rescue bases.

The smooth running of our own control room involves many tasks, almost none of which attract the same recognition of service as those tasks carried out by those on the rescue boats.

But that’s fine.

Control-room tasks aren’t carried out for recognition, they’re carried out for communities: whether this be our PLIRB community of volunteers and supporters; the wider community for whom we provide rescue and safety services; or the other local rescue services with which we work collaboratively and cooperatively in order to  provide the very best service we can. The epitome of this was the Mayday shout to which the crews (base, boat and admin) responded on Sunday October 21.

And of course, Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat is one tiny charity and an even tinier example of work behind the scenes in local, national and international control rooms. All of which demonstrates the reason #UnsungHeroes is being used as the ‘shout out’ for International Control Room week.

If you find yourself nodding along in understanding as you read this and you’re a user of social media, it’s worth knowing that each time you use #UnsungHeroes between now and October 28, £1 will be donated to MIND by APD Communications.

Image Credits: Katherine Crowther .


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