On 30 September 2021, the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) organized the first virtual meeting of the Regional Technical Working Group (RTWG) for laying down minimum standards and benchmarks for PEER training. RTWG members from partner institutions namely, Department of Disaster Management (DDM), Bangladesh; National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), India; Punjab Emergency Service Department (PESD) Rescue 1122, Pakistan; Disaster Management Center, Sri Lanka; and Armed Police Force (APF), Nepal participated in the meeting.
The discussion focused on agreeing on minimum training standards and its application in various countries. The aim is to develop training guidelines and benchmarks that can be adapted in the countries to support emergency response training in partner institutions.
John Abo, Chief of Party- PEER walked the participants through the current PEER Training Standards and Methodology being practiced over 20 years. He highlighted the importance of setting out standards for training and said, “We, as a life-saving program, have a critical role to play. Hence, we need to have a set of standards for our emergency response training.”He also talked about the paradigm shift of PEER from training to institutionalization and added, “We need to re-focus our efforts to see what goes beyond training and look for different interventions to support institutionalization.”
Mr. John’s presentation was followed by a discussion on the composition of the PEER training team. Representatives from partner institutes shared their experiences from the countries. Mr. Amit Singh, Deputy Superintendent of Police- APF Nepal shared, “In my experience, there is a need for supporting staff in the current training team.” Ms, Roqiya Bano Javed, Controller of Examinations- PESD Rescue 1122, added, “It’s challenging to get the minimum number of instructors specified in the existing guideline. To overcome this, we have reduced the number of instructors and increased the duration of the course to effectively adapt the program.” Her comments were echoed by Kuldip Singh, DRM Specialist, ADPC India who added, “Reassessing the number of minimum instructors, we can cut down on expenditure and use the resources for technical development of the courses.”
Director- Training & Awareness in DMC Sri Lanka, Mr. Sugath Dissanayake, reiterated the need to reassess the existing benchmarks and added, “Budget, training capacity, duration of the training and country requirements should be the factors, based on which we redefine the standards.”
Ms. Roqiya Javed also presented how PESD integrated PEER methodology in its institutional training system. She highlighted some of the issues faced at the time, “To tackle the issue of retention of instructors, we have employed permanent faculty as instructors.” She also presented key recommendations which helped PESD in sustaining capacities trained through PEER:
- Developing a 24/7 emergency management system to retain the trained graduates
- Introducing an online training mechanism
- Training community responders through educational institutions
- Developing evidence-based research for emergency prevention
The meeting deliberated on priority activities for the upcoming months, frequency of meetings and actions to be taken up on developing minimum standards, toolkits, case studies, and knowledge sharing.
Cover Photo by Freepik.