Civil Defence Ireland is a voluntary organization that provides support to emergency services during times of crisis. Its members are trained to assist in a variety of roles, including search and rescue.
The search and rescue capabilities of Civil Defence Ireland include the use of trained dogs and equipment such as search cameras, listening devices, Unmanned Aerial Systems, Side Scan Sonar and thermal imaging cameras. Civil Defence members are trained to search for missing persons in a variety of environments, including urban, rural, and wilderness settings. They also have the capability to search in challenging conditions, such as during severe weather or in flooded areas.
In terms of history, Civil Defence in Ireland can be traced back to the 1950s, when it was established as a voluntary organization under the Civil Defence Act. Since then, the organization has played a vital role in supporting emergency services during times of crisis, such as floods and storms. Civil Defence members have also been deployed to assist with search and rescue efforts during major incidents, such as the Rescue 116 tragedy in Blacksod Co. Mayo, the explosion in Creeslough Co. Donnegal, as well as numerous local missing person searches.
Civil Defence Ireland also provides training for its members in a variety of areas, including first aid, emergency management, and search and rescue techniques. This training enables Civil Defence members to respond quickly and effectively during a crisis.
As a member of the public, volunteers with Civil Defence have a critical role in supporting their communities. They are trained to provide life-saving assistance and help to ensure a prompt and effective response during emergencies.
It’s worth noting, while Civil Defence Ireland have the capability and training to conduct search and rescue operation, they are not the primary search and rescue agency in Ireland and they will only take such actions under the direction of the emergency services.