Published: 05 Mar 2013 15:08 GMT+01:00 | Print version
Updated: 05 Mar 2013 15:08 GMT+01:00
A team of Swiss paramedics are heading to Rome to provide training for the Swiss Vatican Guard – the pope’s private army.
The guards are to be taught how to use a defibrillator and administer first aid, Tages-Anzeiger reported.
Not only the future pope and senior clerics could benefit from the guards’ training but also pilgrims to Rome.
The Swiss Guard security chief, William Kloter, said it was important that the army training was brought up to date.
The city of Zurich rescue and protection service team will arrive at the Vatican in time for the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict.
The agreement signed between the two parties envisages three training sessions lasting three days each, in which guards will be taught how to deal with medical emergencies.
“More people signed up than are currently needed,” said rescue and protection service spokesman Roland Portmann.
There is no requirement that volunteers be male or Catholic, unlike in the Vatican Guard.
The Zurich organisation was chosen because of its experience in dealing with large crowds. It will not be paid for its services.
The Swiss Guard was formed in 1505 and consists of 110 soldiers, who still wear the original uniform from the Middle Ages.
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