Staff deserve our thanks after Clutha tragedy

WITHIN minutes of disaster striking at the Clutha Vaults the city's emergency services were on site helping the victims of the tragedy.

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In the days that followed, the world watched as police, ambulance and fire crews went about the delicate task of removing bodies and lifting the helicopter from the devastated building.

At the same time, an unseen army of hundreds of council staff was working round the clock putting in place a wide range of essential services.

And many will continue to be involved with the aftermath of that terrible Friday in the weeks and months to come.

The first council employees at the scene made up what is known as the resilience team.

They worked with the emergency services to establish what could be done to support their work in the early hours of the incident, including ensuring all the necessary road closures were in place.

Other council staff arrived to open rest areas for families and friends in Gorbals Leisure Centre and a council office in John Street and social work teams were on hand to help people affected.

The local authority's arms' length organisation Cordia provided hot drinks and food.

Council press officers were in place within hours, to handle an avalanche of calls from the world's media.

They were also responsible for co-ordinating the book of remembrance in the City Chambers.

The council's major incident support team has involved senior social workers working with police family liaison officers. Police staff will eventually pass the care and support of people who continue to need it to the council.

Council staff, many of them volunteers, have been working virtually round the clock taking calls from people wanting to make a donation to the Clutha Appeal Fund. But they have also handled calls from people looking for support in the face of the tragedy.

That involved a female customer of the bar who left her handbag inside and needed help to get into her home to people who simply needed someone to talk to.

Building control staff were at the scene of the Clutha at an early stage.

Teachers have also had a role to play, answering questions from pupils and helping youngsters who want to raise money for the appeal fund.

Finance and legal staff were involved in helping set up the appeal and senior officials in virtually every department have been preparing for when the police hand control of the operation to the council.

The council staff have been quietly working behind the scenes but each and every one deserves the city's thanks.

Local government

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