„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.