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Training First Responders for Natural Disasters

What if we trained the members in the slum communities in EMT, Fire, Disaster, etc response?

Photo of Mansi Parikh
8 6

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EXPLAIN YOUR IDEA

What is the problem? Gainful employment is a huge problem in these slum areas. Also, in countries where a large numbers of these slums are usually have low human resources for first response/disaster teams. The Idea: What if we could instill some community pride and find volunteers who are willing to train in Emergency response? This would involve First aid, CPR, Fire fighting, Midwifery, Disaster response teams, Cleanup, etc. They can be trained by professionals in these fields. Younger adults can be trained in the actual administration of these services while older members can be trained in planning & coordination. Once trained they can be deployed where required. What Problem does this idea solve? This idea helps solve the employment problem both for younger & older community members. It will help them gain skills that they can use within their communities, boosting morale. An analogous example: In India, the National Rural Health Mission runs the Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) program training rural women in essential female health, maternal health, midwifery & child health. http://nrhm.gov.in/communitisation/asha/about-asha.html

WHO BENEFITS?

The Beneficiaries: Governments whose agencies are overburdened and lack human resources, slum communities as it will encourage cohesion and boost morale, law enforcement since gainful employment means less crime, cities who will get better response teams Implementation: This idea can be implemented in any virtually any country. It can definitely be piloted in cities like Mumbai which have large slum communities.

HOW DOES YOUR IDEA TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE CONTEXT OF URBAN SLUMS AND CLIMATE CHANGE?

The idea benefits governments and communities at large. Emergency response teams are required by every community in the world. Government agencies in large urban areas these systems are already overwhelmed and a new infusion of resources would boost these systems and make them more robust. Design Principles: - Planning for the ordinary - These are everyday systems. They are required even if there was no climate change but with weather patterns becoming more unpredictable they will be even more valuable in extreme cases. - Consider the system - Many large urban slums have already developed ingenious systems to contend with changes in climate like increased heat, rainfall, etc. Tapping into these minds that know how to live in hardy conditions will benefit response teams - Design for gender equality - Women can be equally involved in these systems in planning, midwifery, first aid, etc. giving them equal standing - Design with - This idea works to empower the community

IN-COUNTRY EXPERIENCE

  • Yes, for two or more years

EXPERTISE

  • I do not have experience working in a sector related to my idea

GEOGRAPHIC FOCUS

  • Yes

TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF

I'm an entrepreneur and passionate design thinker. I recently finished my MBA and am looking for an opportunity to work in implementing design thinking to solve business problems and "wicked problems" in the world.

8 comments

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Photo of Suzy Lawrie
Team

I think this idea has a lot of merit. Empowering people with knowledge and being as prepared as possible from the bottom up can only be a good thing I think.

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Photo of Mansi Parikh
Team

Thanks Suzy. I agree. I think making people self sufficient goes a long way in increasing their belief that they can achieve something in their lives.

The urban slums are often the place where most lives are lost in case of a disaster, natural or otherwise. Often this may be because they aren't viewed as a "priority" and sometimes because these slums are often so closely packed together regular equipment can't get in to help. So if we train the slum dwellers to help themselves they can save their own neighbours when the eventuality strikes rather than having to wait for emergency services to get to them.

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Photo of André Fernandes
Team

Hi Mansi, I just posted another idea on the same line, and your is more complete. What else do you have in mind?

https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/urban-resilience/ideas/what-evacuation-systems-could-we-think-to-protect-slums-dwellers-under-natural-disasters/comments#c-5530d7ea548e0e81dfc1e4984c7fe64f

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Photo of Mansi Parikh
Team

Hey Andre! Looks like we picked pretty similar solutions. I am thinking of how we might be able to also involve these members who are trained in emergency response and see how we can also help them develop planning and execution skills. For example imagine we have trained firefighters in battling a regular house fire, how might we use other community members and train them in helping coordinating the effort, formulating evacuation plans, etc. Basically these will give them the tools which make it an inclusive community approach. How do we then use these firefighters and have them mentor the next generation to make this a perpetually self sustaining effort.

I was also thinking that if we have these trained responders they can also be deployed to different parts of the country and even around the world should there be a natural disaster.

In a more advanced stage we can also formulate a platform to share best practices across communities and even facilitate data collection because that will be essential as we attempt to understand and study the effects of climate change.

Let me know what you think and how we should attempt to combine our ideas into something actionable.

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Photo of Matt Siebert
Team

I was a part of something like this growing up in an earthquake zone. We didn't set up anything too complicated, and it was pretty easy.

Tools for light search & rescue were purchased and sealed in large plastic garbage containers around our school. Student volunteers were trained by our local fire department in their use, given keys to the padlocks that secured the tools, and developed a response plan for meeting in an emergency. When a major earthquake shook our area in 1989, we were very fortunate that there was no event nearby that required our response.

In an urban slum area, a government- or community-owned lot or space might be used for secure storage of disaster tools and supplies. Due to the intrinsic value of the supplies, they would need to be guarded and periodically inspected/inventoried to ensure availability in time of need. Old shipping containers are readily available, and used for storage of inventories globally.

So, how might we develop an inexpensive planning and training program that integrates government plans with communities to raise awareness of local disaster response plans, disaster response capacity, and community esprit?

The administration angle is an interesting one, and might be used to modify existing educational programs. An interesting question for educators in these areas might be to ask how they might teach their administration or business students how best to put those skills to use in the event of an emergency.

I wholeheartedly agree with Mansi's comments on the value of advancing medical training to women in these communities. I've visited more than a couple cultures where it's taboo for men to treat women or vice-versa. Great call, Mansi!

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Photo of Shane Zhao
Team

Nice one Mansi and great to see that you're building on some of the other inspirations in the challenge so far. Are there success stories of emergency training programs in slum communities that we can learn from? Specific analogous examples of training programs for midwifery and maternal care in rural India would also be great to build on:T

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Photo of Mansi Parikh
Team

Thanks Shane. I wanted to include the link for the midwifery program in rural India and I couldn't remember the name. It just came back to me so I'm going to put it in.

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Photo of Mansi Parikh
Team

Found and added some videos too!