On Saturday last, the 24th September, Wexford Civil Defence hosted an inter agency training day at Wexford County Council buildings in Carricklawn with over 90 members of various agencies attending. All Primary Response agencies – (Fire Service, Gardaí, Coast Guard and Ambulance Service) and Voluntary Services including Civil Defence, Order of Malta, Red Cross, Wexford MarineWatch and Equine SAR (Search and Rescue) participated on the day.
Following registration at 10.30am, the morning’s activities consisted of presentations ranging from Working with Horses to treatments required for Diving Accidents. Following a talk by Eugene Brennan of the Equine SAR, David O’Grady (Order of Malta) discussed treatment of injuries sustained as a result from a fall from a horse. Deirdre Bowers of the HSE gave an interesting presentation on Diabetes while Róisin McGuire from the Civil Defence College talked about Working with Divers – Decompressing Illness and Treatments.
After lunch, Cllr. George Lawor discussed the strategy, experience and success of Wexford MarineWatch.
The afternoon was taken up with practical demonstrations on Spinal Immobilisation, Extrication from Vehicles and from the Equine Search and Rescue team. Liam Buckley from Wexford Civil Defence demonstrated the searching capabilities and uses of Drones.
Speaking after the event, Acting Civil Defence Officer Peter O’Connor said, “The idea of today was to bring all the emergency services together both statutory and voluntary for a meet and greet, to get know each other, to share ideas and past experiences, to see if there are areas where we can help each other out in the future both in a training and resource availability.” Peter thanked all the organisations and speakers for attending and contributing to the day.
The day’s activities concluded with a dinner held in the Riverbank Hotel attended by Senior officers from the Civil Defence. A presentation was made to Ms. Gabrielle Willis, marking her retirement as Civil Defence Officer after 29 years service.
Gabrielle enlisted in Wexford Civil Defence on the 15th November 1976, in 1980 achieved the rank of Instructor in Welfare and Casualty. Gabrielle was appointed as acting Civil Defence Officer on the 8th March 1986 following the retirement of Mr. Tom O’Connor, Civil Defence Officer, was appointed as fulltime Civil Defence Officer on the 2nd March 1987.
During her tenure, Gabrielle witnessed considerable change and progress for the service and made a huge contribution to Civil Defence both locally and at national level having served two terms on the National Civil Defence Board. Gabrielle was always keen to ensure all services, and equipment were improved and the Volunteers received the best possible training and opportunities in return for their time. With Gabrielle’s help and persuasion Wexford has punched well above our weight in achieving national standards such as
- Emergency Medical Technician, (27 to date in Wexford)
- Welfare HACCP
- Swift water Responders & Technicians (flood and severe weather)
- Radio Communications – Tetra
- Drones – Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) provide regional cover
Uniform and safety equipment were always a key concern to Gabrielle to ensure everyone was equipped to carry out our work.
Gabrielle was presented with a new laptop and a bouquet by Liam Healy and Phil O’Mahoney on behalf of all her colleagues in recognition of her years for service.