THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Since last year, the state is battling the pandemic with the help of health workers to police officials to other front-line workers. But little is talked about the contributions of Civil Defence Volunteers (CDV), a wing formed in 2019 to aid the Kerala Fire and Rescue Services Department in emergencies. Currently, around 6,200 volunteers are working as part of the CDV in the nooks and cranny of the state.
The many duties
The CDV members aged 18 and above clad in red t-shirt and black track pants are deployed at several cities across the state. Their activities include surveillance at containment zones, doorstep delivery of essential goods and medicines, guarding quarantine facilities, distributing foods, managing crowds at vaccine centres, creating awareness about the virus and disinfecting the Covid affected areas.
Sidha Kumar V, Civil Defence Thiruvananthapuram regional fire officer says, “A few days ago, we received an enquiry about eye drops for two-year-old Umaima, a native of Thrissur, who had recently undergone surgery.
Since the medicine was unavailable in Thrissur, the parents contacted civil defence wardens and we bought the medicine at our own cost and delivered it by the next day.” Thiruvananthapuram chief divisional warden, Civil Defence, Abhijith V P, shares about his Covid rescue missions. “We have been providing free food packets to the destitute and homeless under our initiative ‘Annam 21’”.
They are also active in blood donation services and 30 CDV’s have donated their blood to the blood bank at RCC last week. “On the World Environment Day, we plan to plant medicinal trees in the place of trees that were collapsed in the recent downpour.
HELP FOR THE ANIMALS TOO
Abhijith shares one of the striking incidents he encountered, “we had a request call from a Covid affected family from Nedumangad, who are dairy farmers. They wanted someone to milk their cow which was in pain since it wasn’t milked for the past few days. We reached the house with a milker and arranged for the next few days too. Not just humans, but animals also need care during this pandemic time”.
WOMEN POWER TOO
Rukma Mohan B explains her reasons for joining the service. “An old woman who was walking beside me suddenly collapsed and I was helpless. To my luck, an auto came and she was hospitalised. That incident led me to join the team and also inspired me to become a CRPF cadet”. But for Vakkom native 31-year-old Sivi Surendran, there were some bitter experiences too.
“Recently, my neighbour called from Gujarat to hospitalise her father who had a decreasing pulse rate. The entire family was Covid positive. When I reached the house, her brother restricted us from entering the house. Even with police help, we failed to shift the patient to the hospital. By the time we entered the house, his father succumbed to death,” she shares.