Preparing Households for Contingencies

There are over 22 million households in Iran, and to cover them all under the contingency preparedness plan within five years, at least four million families should be trained every year
The door-to-door education will continue for five years as it is the core program of the scheme. The door-to-door education will continue for five years as it is the core program of the scheme.

During the trial run of the scheme called ‘Khadem’ implemented last year by Iran’s Red Crescent Society, 250,000 families received education on emergency situations.

“Khadem” takes its title from the Persian acronym for ‘Prepared Family in Emergencies,’ and as of the New Persian Year which started in March, it has been implemented nationwide. The IRCS has set the target of training 700,000 households by the end of the current fiscal year (March 2018) subject to proper funding.

The IRCS Education Department is implementing the program that aims to raise public awareness about the threat of natural disasters that can endanger people’s lives, by offering information and training about the best responses in emergency situations.

The objective is to educate 25 million households within a five-year period by March 2022, and raise the preparedness index from the present 9.3% to 30%.   

“Many provinces have completed the fifth and sixth rounds of the program in 12 sessions and new initiatives are planned this year,” said Mehdi Najafi, director of fundamental public education affairs at the IRCS, reported.

Based on the latest census, there are over 22 million households in Iran. Therefore, to complete the plan within five years, at least four million families should be trained every year.

The per capita expense of education in emergency preparedness for each family is around one million rials ($26) which means four trillion rials ($105 million) is required to educate four million households. The allocated funding to achieve this year’s target is 700 billion rials ($18.5 million).

At present, the IRCS is the only sponsor of the program, and will not be able to meet the target unless other state and non-state entities step in to provide financial support.

  Sharing Knowledge

Volunteers have been trained to transfer knowledge to families. They visit people’s homes in 12 sessions and provide brief 5-minute training at the doorstep, following which the household gets a registration number in the IRCS.

In Iran, households’ preparedness index in emergency situations has been defined by the Health Ministry and is measured by 15 parameters including knowledge, behavioral skills, emergency and first aid kits and contingency plans, among others. One or two of these parameters are taught to families during each session.

The training sessions are brief and simple so that they do not cause boredom, disturbance or confusion for families. The repetition of the sessions every month is also aimed to help keep the public constantly alert about disasters.

According to Najafi, the door-to-door education program will continue for five years as it is the core program of the scheme, but certain modifications may be made if necessary.

“After studying the results of the pilot scheme on 250,000 families, we will hold sessions with provincial authorities to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the plan,” he said.

To collaborate in the program, volunteers can apply at IRCS offices across the country. If qualified and their services are needed, they will then undergo a three-hour course and join the humanitarian movement.  

Najafi pointed out, however, that those who work with different sections of the society will be given priority.

Voluntary work is not paid, and facilitators get only travel allowance. Nevertheless, there are incentives for active members who manage to educate at least 100 households such as free admission to IRCS excursions, discounts for  training courses and acknowledgement by authorities.

Iran is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world and at risk of a wide range of natural calamities such as earthquakes, floods, drought and land subsidence.

During the last decade, natural disasters claimed the lives of 700,000 people across the country, according to Health Minister Hassan Qazizadeh Hashemi.

Seyyed Hamid Jamaleddini, head of the Education, Research and Technology Department at the IRCS, natural calamities and the ensuing damages annually inflict losses estimated at 100 trillion rials ($2.6 billion) on the country, which can be reduced by 20% ($530 million) with the help of education, information, and awareness.

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