The vital role of volunteers in emergency situations has been recognised following a new agreement bewteen police and fire chiefs.
Voluntary sector emergency responders, who can be called out to life-saving situations, will now be included in contingency planning in Central Scotland.
Central Scotland’s Chief Fire Officer Kenneth Taylor and Chief Constable Derek Penman signed the agreemnent with British Red Cross operations director Helen Bath, a move which will strengthen the Central Scotland Strategic co-ordinating Group (CSSCG).
Ms Bath said: “Until now the training and excerising of voluntary organisations for emergency response has not really been co-ordinated.
“This memorandum of understanding gives the Central Scotland SCG voluntary sector partners the opportunity to combine resources, engage in joint training and work more effectively together in the event of major emergencies.”
First repsonders help emergency services in many different ways including during severe weather and accidents or incidents when paramdeics are needed.
Mr Penman said: “The valuable contribution made by the voluntary sector in times of emergencies affecting our communities has always been acknowledged.
“This initiative enhances that commitment by ensuring our partners are fully integrated into all aspects of our planning, training, response and recovery processes.”