08/01/2012 07:25 EDT | Updated 10/01/2012 05:12 EDT

Vancouver Recruits For New Citizen Volunteer Corps

The City of Vancouver has announced what it says will be a one-of-a-kind Volunteer Corps.

It hopes to attract 1,500 people over the next four years who will be called upon in the event of a natural disaster. The volunteers will also act as ambassadors at major civic events and major crowd gatherings, such as the summer fireworks shows.

Deputy city managear Sadhu Johnston said the inspiration for the Volunteer Corps came from the Stanley Cup riot review, which noted the success of blue-jacketed volunteers in keeping the peace during the 2010 Olympics.

"They will not be involved in security-related issues," Johnston said.

"Their training is more how to work in crowds, identify issues, and help to direct people … This is not a security role."

Mayor Gregor Robertson said volunteers will also be called to help in the event of a major snowfall, rainfall or windstorm but will not do the work of unionized city employees.

He said some volunteers will get specialized training in communication and situation assessment in order to help police and firefighters.

"It's really looking at when the city is potentially in crisis or dealing with a massive overload, and augmenting the work that we do with the goodwill of volunteers," Robertson said.

Anyone interested in signing up can call the city's 311 call centre.

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