Civilian training in first response after ‘surge’ in Russian strikes


February 17, 2016

Citing a “surge” in airstrikes on civilian targets, the local NGO Violet Organization for Aid and Development set a goal last November to train 10,000 local teachers, students and health professionals on the basics of emergency response.

“We have a shortage of staff and cannot cover all emergency situations,” Fouad a-Sayyed Aisa, the director of the training program,tells Syria Direct’s Sama Mohammed.

“We decided to train people, albeit in a simplified manner, to deal with these emergencies.”

Seven thousand people have since been trained in first aid, responding to an air raid and forming an emergency exit plan. 

“Part of the inspiration for this project came after our friend, Samir Sweid, the director of Violet’s water program, was killed by a Russian bombing in Idlib,” says a-Sayyed Aisa.

“We do not want anyone else to meet this fate.”

Q: Why are you offering these courses now?

This project is important because it coincides with a surge in Russian air raids on health centers in northern Syria. Since the Russian bombing campaign, began we have documented the killing of 10 medical staff by airstrikes in Idlib province.

We have a shortage of staff and cannot cover all emergency situations, so we decided to train people, albeit in a simplified manner, to deal with these emergencies.

Q: What topics do the trainings cover?

The trainings cover first aid, how to deal with a fire, how to act in the event of a bombing and also quick-response measures such as emergency exit plans.

When working with schools, we are training the teaching staff on how to manage their students in these types of dangerous scenarios. As for children, we focus more on their own personal safety.

 Emergency workers instruct children in the use of fire extinguishers.

 While the training program focuses on school age students, all are welcome to attend.

 Violet Organization trainers teach local residents how to take cover during an air raid.

 Fire extinguishers, first aid kits and safety manuals were distributed to schools throughout the province. 

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