The state government has decided to strengthen the civil defence system to tackle man-made and natural disasters. It is proposing to give two acres of land at the existing AP Fire Services Academy in Vattinagulapally to set up the Civil Defence Training Institute. The Centre will provide funds for construction of the institute. Sources in the home department said the plan was to merge the civil defence system with the fire and emergency services department. Initially, training will be given to volunteers from all major cities in the state. Following this, volunteers from villages will be given training. A senior official said the government wanted to make civil defence system the first response or first level defence network in case of any disaster or calamity. "Volunteers who are trained at the institute in Vattinagulapally will be paid a stipend during the training period,' said the official. "But they will be paid honorarium only when their services are utilised,' he added. At present, the civil defence in Hyderabad comes within the ambit of the city police commissionerate. Training is being imparted to volunteers in fire fighting, rescue operations, first aid and air raid precautions.