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St John Rescue Corps receives German equipment

St John rescue corps volunteers register and off-load equipment donated by the Director of Civil Defence of the city of Mainz in Germany

St John rescue corps volunteers register and off-load equipment donated by the Director of Civil Defence of the city of Mainz in Germany

The St John Rescue Corps has received another donation of civil defence equipment items from the civil defence authorities of the city of Mainz, in Germany. The Corps has a very special relationship with Mainz, from which it received the first shipment of equipment and technical items which enabled the Corps to commence its operations in Malta in 1991.

The container was shipped to Malta by Jürgen Franz, director of civil defence of Mainz, fully sponsored by the German transhipment and freight handlers ITG GmbH. Vincent Micallef and Christopher Mangion of Cassar & Cooper (S&I) Ltd made all the necessary arrangements to safeguard the safe transit of the equipment from Mainz to the Corps' headquarters at Fort Maddalena in Madliena, together with haulage company Miksons Transport Co Ltd.

The logistics on the part of the St John Rescue Corps were co-ordinated by Deputy Corps Commander, Capt. Reuben Lanfranco.

Marquis Anthony Buttigieg De Piro, the Corps Commander, expressed his gratitude to Malta's consul-general in Mainz, Senator Schultheiss, who arranged with ITG in Germany and Cassar and Cooper in Malta, to co-ordinate the free transportation of the equipment.

Writing to Mr Franz, Marquis Buttigieg De Piro thanked him and the civil defence authorities of Mainz, and also wholeheartedly thanked Henry Borg, president of the German-Maltese Chamber of Commerce.

In recognition of his close co-operation and significant contribution to the Corps, Mr Franz was appointed president of the Judo Association Division of the St John Rescue Corps in 1992, the predecessor of the Cliff Rescue Division.

Through the intervention of Professor Walter G. Rödel, a Knight Commander of Justice of the Bailiwick of Brandenburg of the (German) chivalric order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem, commonly known as the Johanniterorden, the Corps initially received a significant amount of equipment and uniforms from the director of civil defence of Mainz.

This donation helped the Corps to start its operations and training programme. It was through the influence of the Lord Mayor of Mainz that Marquis Buttigieg De Piro could take with him, over a five-year period, three groups of 30 officers and leaders of the St John Rescue Corps to the Federal German Civil Defence Staff Training School in Ahrweiler, Germany. The Ahrweiler Training School is very realistically staged with disaster areas, and the most recent sophisticated rescue equipment.

Professor Rödel, a long-standing supporter of the Rescue Corps, is president of the Arms, Armour and Militaria Society Division, a Reserve Division of the Corps.

Unlike the St John Ambulance Brigade (First Aid and Nursing), whose task is to give first aid at public functions, gatherings and in cases of national emergencies, the mission statement of the Rescue Corps is to "provide a uniformed voluntary corps of organised and fully trained adults, able to carry out rescue operations and first aid efficiently. They are to be prepared to go into action as an individual unit, in support of the constituted authorities of the Maltese Islands, when officially called upon by them, in case of major national calamities such as earthquakes, war, major air crashes, floods, and so forth".

The Corps is based at Fort Maddalena, a late 19th century British fort loaned by the government. The Corps is an organisation run on the lines of a Maltese paramilitary unit and is divided into divisions.

There is no regular paid support for the Rescue Corps. It is entirely composed of highly dedicated, unpaid, part-time volunteers. The organisation is made up of regular volunteers and reservists.

The Rescue Corps is not funded or supported by any entity or organisation. While it has managed to secure a number of donations over the years, it does not receive a regular income budget from any source.

The St John Rescue Corps was officially asked to be on active stand-by and on full alert in case of emergency at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) held in Malta.

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