logo_ipa_floodscroIPA FLOODS- CRO 2016 Participants’ insight: one question to…

Domen Torkar (URSZR – Slovenia) – IPA FLOODS Trainings Coordinator

You participated into the preparatory actions and into all training activities leading to IPA FLOODS – CRO 2016. From your point of view what was the most important aspect/knowledge you intended to transfer to the staff you have trained? During this exercise what was your impression on the putting into practice of these aspects/knowledges?    

IPA FLOODS trainings within – lot 1 were basically developed in two levels.

The first level was addressed to the management staff and designed to prepare participants for the international interventions in case of floods. Training curriculum was based on the Operational management courses conducted under the Union Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM). The main objectives of the course were to prepare national teams/Multinational Civil Protection Modules (CPMs) of the type Flood rescue with boats (FRB) for international disaster response operations, to increase the participants’ capability to lead their respective units in multi-task and multi-stakeholder operations and to integrate them into the existing national and international coordination arrangements in a disaster-affected country. The objective of all steps of the training programme was also testing previous outputs developed within IPA FLOODS, namely the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

The second level of trainings was a bit more challenging. We designed and conducted two practical trainings for the FRB activities in order to train personnel of national teams/CPMs for FRB established under IPA FLOODS for relevant flood response operations including different water rescue techniques and tactics. With two operational trainings (one per each CPM) we operatively used and tested the FRB equipment donated by IPA FLOODS. The training programmes were jointly prepared and conducted by Slovenian and Italian experts combining both national and international experiences. The objective of all activities was also to build a network among the participants by sharing the experience, existing know-how and team building. That was beneficial indeed not also for the participant from the Beneficiary Countries but also for the trainers/organizers from Consortium partners. A great connections were established between Slovenian and Italian experts and that counts also for the future.

The Regional Field exercise was a great opportunity to exercise different activities that were trained in both trainings and especially to test all previous actions provided within IPA FLOODS. My impression is highly positive. Programme provided a good platform in all Beneficiary countries for further development of this kind of capacities and gave a good reference on how CP teams and modules should be organized, equipped and trained for national and international disasters. It was also satisfactory to see that in some countries the units have already been deployed in national interventions related to floods – which is the direct output of the programme tested in practice.

Ivan Baras (Assistant Head of Sector for Emergency Management Ministry of Interior/Sector for Emergency Management) – Serbia Observer

On May 2014, devastating floods hit Serbia and other countries in the Western Balkans, the year after Serbia has joined the EU Civil Protection Mechanism as a participating country. IPA FLOODS – CRO 2016 is the occasion for your national FRB team part of the multinational Civil Protection Modules (CPMs) established and developed by the Programme to test their functionality and interoperability. After almost two years of activities lot 1 of the Programme is near to close; after this participation into IPA FLOODS – CRO 2016, what are your expectations in dealing with possible future emergencies in the Balkans  , namely in Serbia?

After these two years of IPA FLOODS Programme implementation, particularly Lot 1, this week our team participated into this Regional Field Exercise together with those from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Montenegro [IPA FLOODS FRB Module North] and their functioned very well. Since the very beginning of the Exercise we have been in contact with our Team Leader and with other members of the Serbian team. They confirmed that all teams have been actively involved, they cooperate and helped each other, they went to rescue people all together with the other teams; that is something we were called to achieve and I think that we did already! Concerning our expectations with regard to the future emergencies, in the Republic of Serbia, after the floods of 2014 that hit especially the Eastern part of our country, things started to change both at logistical and situation levels. Our national law and decrees on emergencies management improved as well as the way of thinking of Serbian citizens. We started to implement a lot of prevention measures in order to deal better with future emergencies, for example we built little dams that can be effective for preventing torrential floods. In addition, as the rescue teams before 2014 were organised only at national and regional level, we started to establish local level teams equipped with two or three boats to provide first response and able to react at local level more rapidly than the national ones. After their intervention, the Sector for Emergency Management intervenes and still coordinates response at national level. Concerning these multinational teams established by IPA FLOODS Programme, although I hope not, I think that these will be very active in the future due of the climate and weather that are always changing and increase the probability of this kind of disaster. Mutual cooperation in these cases is crucial because no country in the world can be able to cope with such big scale emergencies. We have seen it in 2014, where 22 modules or teams coming from 14 countries with almost 600 professionals participating into the rescue activities helped us to react to this devastating floods. Now I can say that also thanks to these initiatives like IPA FLOODS Programme we became smarter and we are better prepared to react.

Vaiko Vatsfeld (Disaster Relief Team – Estonian Rescue Board / Western Rescue Centre – Rescue Service Readiness Division) – Estonia Observer

The team members of the multinational CPM of the type FRB have been selected by their own institutions and trained by professionals coming from different civil protection authorities composing the IPA FLOODS Consortium. Together with Latvia and Lithuania, Estonia is part of the multinational High Capacity Pumping Module (BaltFloodCombat) established in 2009. As experienced member of BaltFloodCombat, what is the suggestion you feel to provide with the colleagues from the multinational modules participating to IPA FLOODS – CRO 2016 in order to enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of their future response actions?

The most important way to achieve good cooperation and efficiency of response actions is to practise and work together. The best way to practise is the field and table top exercises. Our module has developed a lot for the opportunities to take part from the European Civil Protection Modules Exercises. These exercises will show the ability to deploy and work on site as a single unit, communicate and coordinate with authorities of affected country and to show the skills of common decision making. That is great way to test the procedures and learn always something new. Besides, working together grows with the members and builds a trustful relationship with each other. Eventually it does not matter if the country or language is different, we will work as one.

Stefania Sbroglia (International Relations Unit – Italian Civil Protection Department – DPC)  – Exercise Evaluator

Since 2005 you participated into several exercises organized in Europe and in your country. As evaluator what is the main aspect you will remember of IPA FLOODS – CRO 2016?

First of all, let me thank you for this opportunity to give a feedback about my experience. In my opinion this has been a very valuable exercise. It has enhanced and developed the coordination and the skill of working together of the national FRB teams coming from the Beneficiaries Countries. The implementation of multinational modules is one of the important objectives in the EUCP strategy and meets specific EUCP needs. The enhancement of the cross-border cooperation is a step forward in the field of disaster preparedness in the Balkan region and Turkey. IPA FLOODS – CRO 2016 has given the national teams the possibility of knowing each other and learning how and in which best way interact among them. The most appreciable aspect that I would like to underline is exactly this one:  they arrived as national teams and then came back home as an interoperable multinational module. Seeing their continuous progress day after day has been exiting and surprising. And I think this could be considered the best achievement of the exercise. Presence of the FRB CZ module has also been another great advantage for them. The CZ module has acted as a real “trainer” for national teams, showing the best professionalism in organization and operability and continuously interacting with them in rescue operations. I am aware that the two FRB multinational modules have still to grow and that the path is long, but the IPA FLOODS programme did a great job and the achievements of the exercise are encouraging. I hope this exercise could have laid the groundwork for a new effective response for flood related disasters, especially in the Balkan region, and IPA Programmes could continue to support these results in the future. I think, why not?, at the possibility to maintain and improve the equipment, that is an urgent need for some countries in particular.

Igor Milic (Deputy Commander NPRD Croatia) Exercise Director

Croatian Civil Protection it is member of the IPA FLOODS Consortium, it is the host country and partner in charge of the organisation of IPA FLOODS – CRO 2016. Last but not least Croatia has a long experience in dealing with floods. Can you tell me the main feedback and lessons learnt from the exercise with regard to the interoperability between the teams and coordination approach?

The main aim of the IPA FLOODS – CRO 2016 was to exercise the cooperation within the framework of the Union Civil Protection Mechanism after large-scale floods and to improve the cooperation of the civil protection modules (FRB – Floods Rescue with Boats) in an international environment. An essential focus lied on the cooperation and coordination with the local authorities in the Republic of Croatia (Civil Protection Headquarter) and with a European Civil Protection Team (EUCPT) establishing an On Site Operations Coordination Centre (OSOCC). Coordination structure was set up like in real situations in order to create best learning environment for exercise participants involving operational forces from national and local level. Flood rescue activities were exercised which was focus of the exercise and three participating FRB Modules could practices self-sufficiency and mutual interoperability in exercise timetable that created operational continuity. Main lessons learnt identified how multinational modules could work as “one”, necessary logistic support to maintain self-sufficiency, safety and security awareness in flood affected areas, planning and coordination tools to be improved, and need to continue with similar training activities in the future. Exercise provided a platform for networking and exchange of experience among exercise participants, and when they meet again, even in the real mission, mutual cooperation and coordination will be much better after IPA FLOODS – CRO 2016 field exercise.