Rescue and Volunteering: interview with Cristian De Zordo, Corpo Volontari Valle di Non

Relief and Volunteering: the ZOLL Tour is not only a campaign to introduce emergency responders to products dedicated to emergency relief, but also a wonderful opportunity to get to know the “people” who do their best every day to help those in need

What is the ZOLL Tour?

The ZOLL Tour is a campaign designed by I-Help and ZOLL Medical itself to present the many products dedicated to emergency, including defibrillators, lung ventilators, and mechanical CPR.

It is also an essential training moment to update rescuers on the evolution of these essential procedural protocols and health care devices.

Joining this campaign, and participating in these training activities, is the Corpo Volontari della Val di Non – Cles, a volunteer association that just this year celebrated its 40th anniversary.

Today it has 125 volunteers and many activities essential to a geographically well-defined territory.

Telling us about the reality of those who volunteer in a mountain valley is its president, Cristian De Zordo.

Corpo Volontari Valle di Non, the interview with president Cristian De Zordo

“Our reality,” the president tells us, “is of medium size, for our areas, and it operates in a territory that is very dilated: we are a valley in Trentino, and therefore we have a population density that is certainly lower than what there can be in any street of any city.

So the characteristics are to have few people and very far away.

If we look at our total population of 50,000 and drop it into a metropolitan context such as Milan may be, it is little more than a street.

So it is definitely a different approach if we compare it with that of other, far more structured associations.”

Corpo Volontari Valle di Non: 125 volunteers, including as many as 90 dedicated to ambulance rescue

“We are an association,” Cristian De Zordo explains, “that right now is gritting its teeth and operating with only volunteers.

The backbone of our associations is strongly centered on volunteers, and in this sense we are the mirror of what our associations are in Trentino.

Of course you have to work, you have to run: the services required today are really demanding.

If we take stock today compared to the pre-Covid period, they have grown significantly: the need for vehicles and volunteers, compared to before 2020, is really important and problematic.”

Speaking of ambulances, as a volunteer association are you being affected by the price increase? These are tough years on this front

“Right now it’s a big problem, because the bulk of the activity is in agreement with Trentino Emergenza and the Health Authority, and there are applied rates that are born pre Covid and pre war-determined increases.

The incidence of prices is accompanied by the problem determined by spare parts: maintaining vehicles or even more so having new vehicles has become something prohibitive.

We have one vehicle that will arrive at the beginning of the new year and was ordered in July 2021, with the difficulty of having more and that related to the fact that it is now difficult to find them in the territory.

Moreover, for us, a mountainous territory, the needs are quite specific: in fact, our vehicles tend to be all 4×4, and they are all “compact.”

The classic model is the Volkswagen Transporter, so to speak: on mountain roads it has added value.

The price problem, then, but not only that: it is a difficult time, administratively speaking.

Recently, Disability Day: would you like to tell us about the Ki-Ama project, which you dedicate to people with frailty?

“Ki-Ama is a social transportation project that was born when the pandemic was already among us.

We did the first service in 2020, and we wanted to intercept those weak users, often without a family network and followed by social services (the Valley Community).

Users who, in the first Covid phase, did not even have the possibility to go for medical examinations, because they did not have the right to an ambulance, therefore to a real medical transport, but at the same time they did not have anyone to accompany them to do these medical examinations.

In synergy with the Valley Community and later with other associations, we prepared this service, which rests on a car without flashing lights, which create a certain sense of anxiety.”

Forty years of associational life have seen the world of Volunteerism evolve: from an initial spontaneity it has moved to a need for professionalism. What is the role of training?

“Needless to deny that the world has changed,” agrees the President of the Non Valley Volunteer Corps, “I started 40 years ago and I remember well what was then in the ambulance.

Obviously, the principals and equipment have changed.

So training becomes one of the pillars of our activity, either suggested by the Province or one that is chosen by the association to grow its members, and make them not professional but professional.

The user when he is rescued rightly expects a high level of performance.

We recently prepared another initiative, a school camp: a moment of training of our associations, the Federation of Associations of Social and Health Volunteers of Trentino, in which we did a two-day event during which we carried out simulations with each other, with the Fire Brigade, with Mountain Rescue and with the Alpine Civil Defense, creating a whole series of intervention scenarios.

We did this because we are aware that it is really necessary for our kind of activity to insist on the educational part.

We believe in it very much and it is in that direction that we have to go.”

How important is this “habit” of dialogue in territories that perhaps has a mountain separating them?

“It is fundamental,” De Zordo explains: we are a valley within a series of valleys, and this creates the need for contacts between different realities.

The protocols are clearly the same, being all under the Trentino Emergenza umbrella, but not the customs, habits and sometimes the principals.

So we need to get in touch, learn from each other and then know at the time of need how to move.

Our valley borders with the Province of Bolzano, so with another operations center, and you can imagine the scenario with native Italian speakers and native German speakers, with operations centers with different settings and sometimes we also have different protocols.

So being on simulations allows us to prevent the problems that could be created.”

World Volunteer Day: a reflection and a wish?

“Volunteerism is a resource that our society manages to have and exhibit often in times of need.

It is a fundamental resource that never before has to be there and be on the ground.

Right now, volunteering is suffering, for many reasons: economic, social.

Volunteerism is changing, as society is changing.

I would like to thank all those who are working in volunteerism for the contribution they are making and will be able to make.

I would ask for a little bit of attention from politics for volunteerism, which so many times is remembered in times of difficulty and sometimes is then forgotten.

In the Covid period if volunteerism had not held up psychologically and whatnot, the system would have basically collapsed.

I think that these moments, such as precisely Volunteer Day, are crucial to issue alerts that people should think about for a little while.

And maybe say, “but why don’t I get involved too?”

There are so many volunteer projects, and anyone who wants to volunteer can find a niche.”

Volunteers’ special light

Putting yourself out there, training yourself, growing on a personal level to grow the community in which you live: volunteering is this and much more.

We thank ZOLL for introducing us, through their ZOLL Tour, to such beautiful people who are so essential to the well-being of all.

Volunteers and rescue, the full interview with Cristian De Zordo

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