Five Community Based Exercises were conducted within the course of the project. They took place between July and October 2014. A brief summary of each exercise is found below.
The second Community Based Exercise (CBE) of the “Aware & Resilient” project, took place in the city of Jelgava, Latvia on the 11th of September 2014, and was organized by the Latvian Red Cross (LatRC) in cooperation with Jelgava Municipality operative information centre. The objective of the community based exercise was to gain practical knowledge about an effective response in a case of emergency or disaster.
The first part of the day was devoted to an awareness raising exercise and round table discussion. The purpose of the awareness raising exercise was to develop responsible attitude in carrying out concrete actions to prepare most effectively in the face of an individual or group disaster, to become better prepared for a disaster or emergency, raise awareness of disaster risks and to build resiliency. Round table discussions were organized in groups on different emergency scenarios to promote the exchange of opinions. Feedback from round table discussions was given and and results explained by professional experts from emergency services and other civil protection stakeholders, such as Fire Rescue.
The second part of the day was more practical. The participants had an opportunity to try out training using fire extinguishers, participating First Aid training, testing the „Worst Case Hero” computer game, observing demonstrations by emergency services with practical involvement of the participants.
About 200 participants took part in the CBE.
The event was observed by international observers from Austrian Red Cross, Romanian Red Cross, and others and is a good practise example for a CBE which is organised as an event targeting volunteer associations outside of diaster managment.
„PREPARED FOR DISASTERS – TETOVO – 2014”
Under this slogan, on 12th of October 2014 in the village of Tetovo, Ruse municipality after thorough preparations, the Bulgarian Red Cross together with the partners in the region, which are part of the Unified Rescue System of the country, organized and carried out a community-based emergency exercise with the residents of the village. The exercise was conducted in the frames of the EU funded Aware and Resilient project.
The exercise aims to raise awareness and knowledge of the participants about the real and potential risks threatening them and the whole community, about how to deal with the risks in the best way, the roles, capacities and working procedures of the relevant institutions, and to apply the Community-based emergency exercise guide, which is developed within the project.
The exercise gathering more than 150 people from the village, with different ages and ethnic background induced a particularly high interest. The participants attended sessions on family preparedness for emergencies (Introduction to Risk Reduction). After that participants were split into six working groups for interactive sessions, facilitated by representatives of partner institutions and organizations to discuss emergency situations and response: “Information and Communication” - 112 Regional Centre, “Safety and Rescue” - the Regional Department of Fire Safety and Protection of Population, First Aid – Bulgarian Red Cross volunteers from Ruse, “Medical Assistance” – Emergency Medical Assistance Centre – Ruse, “Psychosocial Support” - Bulgarian Red Cross volunteers from Ruse, and “Disaster Management and Humanitarian Aid” – Crisis Centre at the Municipality of Ruse and Bulgarian Red Cross.
Volunteers of the Bulgarian Red Cross – Ruse facilitated parallel sessions with the rest of the participants from the local community on mapping the risks and dangerous areas in the village; they developed a historical profile of the village representing the main events in its past and made a profile of the village residents, including people with skills who can provide support in disasters and the most vulnerable groups.
Parallel sessions with the younger children were carried out in the local school, where the children played the “Worst Case Hero” computer game, based on three scenarios of emergencies and they had to find the best way of coping with such situations and how they can prepare for them. Children made their own emergency kits, they received basic skills of how to render First Aid to an injured schoolmate, and they learned what to do in various emergency situations, played on the basis of short videos made by the French Red Cross.
At the end of the event, a practical exercise and competition was carried out among firefighters and people from the village to extinguish fires and using fire-fighting equipment.
Participants received useful information materials and awards. They expressed their satisfaction of the useful and interesting exercise and acquired knowledge, which will be very useful for them in emergency situations.
As a result of the community-based emergency exercise, the people of Tetovo learned of the necessity to prepare their own family disaster plans, to prepare a family disaster kit, to learn more about how to render first aid, about the importance of creating a local volunteer disaster response team, as well as about the work of rescuers and institutions and what assistance they can expect in a situation of emergency.
The community-based emergency exercise was highly estimated by the international observers from partner countries in the Aware and Resilient project.
On October 12th a CBE organized by the Austrian Red Cross and the Lower Austrian Civil Protection Association took place in Hadres, Lower Austria as a part of the EU project “Aware&Resilient”. Several workshops and open stations attracted the local population. About 350 visitors were able to refresh and expand their knowledge on disaster prevention. The goal was to make the local population aware of the risks they are exposed in this region.
The CBE in Hadres was well organized and and we are looking forward to implementing the lessons learned in other regions and countries.
Together with the CBE in Bulgaria, this exercise showed how the local individual level such as families and other inhabitants of a village could be reached and prepared by organising an interactive event with vivid workshops and open stations allowing playful learning.
The first Community Based Exercise of A&R project took place on the 5th of July 2014 in Alfortville, France. The exercise named “EVACRUE 2014” was organized in partnership with the city of Alfortville, which is located 8km in the southeast of the center of Paris. In the interactive part of the exercise citizens acquired practical skills in emergency accommodation, evacuation, reception and in this way could experience the different but equally relevant roles of citizens and civil security stakeholders during an evacuation.
This scenario centred exercise demonstrated the adaptiveness of the CBE concept. Here the CBE was used as add-on to a responders exercise and served to involve and raise the preparedness of the local polulation. Normally the local population is not involved or only passively involved as actors in such simulations. The A&R project thus helped building up a mutual understanding of the interconnectedness of helpers and helped population and the responsibilities of both.