Julie Ryan, Senior Delivery Manager at YHCS is a volunteer specialist in Urban Search and Rescue for charity rescue team International Rescue Corps (IRC). She is a specialist in searching for people missing following a disaster such as an earthquake or a flooding.
Whilst working as an Operating Department Practitioner 24 years ago, Julie read an article in a trade magazine about a fellow ODP who went to an earthquake in Costa Rica. She decided to write to the organisation and they told her that in order to join she would have to undertake their training programme which would take at least three years.
In September 1994 she qualified and went on her first overseas mission in 1995 to the Japanese Kobe earthquake. Since then Julie has been all over the world to earthquakes in Japan, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Columbia. In Pakistan, Julie was involved in the rescue of two boys who had been buried under the rubble of a school for five days.
IRC also assists the emergency services in the UK including several missing person searches, a factory explosion, train crashes and floods. Today IRC trains members in various aspects of Urban Search and Rescue and flood rescue. This could take up to 3 years to complete if they are wishing to become a fully overseas operational member.
Julie is a trainer and assessor for the course and holds the position of National PR/Press Officer. IRC is a charity and is non-government funded and in order to continue their work they have to fundraise themselves. All members have to commit to help fundraise and some have undertaken bike rides, road running and Julie even managed to swim the English Channel in a relay in 2011 in aid of IRC. Julie also regularly gives talks to various groups about their work.
In 2012, Julie was recognised for her voluntary work by carrying the Olympic torch in Northallerton. If you want to know more about IRC please visit their website or contact Julie directly on 07867 958458. IRC is always looking for new members – no particular skills are needed as they train everyone to the same standard. If you are interested please get in touch.