The Civil Aid Service (CAS) is a government auxiliary emergency service
established under the Civil Aid Service Ordinance. It has an establishment of
3 634 adult members, 3 232 cadets and 111 civil servants.
Its primary duty is to provide auxiliary supporting services during emergencies.
Members are trained to carry out life-saving tasks during typhoons, floods and
landslips. They are taught how to combat hill fires and contain and clean up oil spills.
In 2006, the CAS was called out to help rescue victims of a serious flood. Its members
also carried out 60 mountain search and rescue operations, and took part in fighting
18 hill and bush fires.
On November 1, 2006, the CAS joined the Fire Services Department and
Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department to combat a huge fire at Tai Lam
Country Park. The blaze lasted for 64 hours, razing more than 66 000 trees across
630 hectares of park land. Working in shifts, CAS personnel fought the blaze
continuously for three days.
CAS personnel also patrol hiking trails and country parks on Sundays and public
holidays when a lot of people make outdoor excursions. The CAS is on standby
during the dry season because of the high risk of hill fires. Crowd control is included
in the CAS ambit. In 2006, the CAS took part in controlling crowds at 180 public
events, and stationed 35 members each day at the Lo Wu Border Control Point to
help control the large crowds crossing the boundary.
The CAS also takes part in promoting civic awareness among young people and
helps them develop leadership skills. It runs a CAS Cadet Corps for youths between
the ages of 12 and 17. Besides participating in recreational activities, these cadets are
taught life-saving techniques, rock-climbing and industrial skills such as printing,
book-binding and fibreglass moulding. Cadets above the age of 13 are encouraged
to perform crowd control duties and to patrol country parks.