A new project that aims to promote community preparedness and response for emergencies through the creation of Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) was launched last month. The CERTs project includes partners from Israel – BGU and Magen David Adom, Jordan – The Jordan Red Crescent, and the Palestinian Authority – the Green Land Society for Health Development. CERTs will be developed, trained and jointly exercised in 12 communities in the three entities, thus facilitating a more effective response to any type of potential emergency.
“As emergencies are characterized by a shortage of resources, local and cross-border community response must be developed in order to reduce mortality and morbidity following a disaster. Regional cooperation and collaboration has been shown to be the most efficient component of an emergency response, as the time frame for reinforcement of local resources is crucial for saving lives. The proposed project strives to develop regional collaboration targeted at developing and empowering community emergency response in the Middle East,” explains Dr. Bruria Adini, director of the project. Adini is a member of the Department of Emergency Medicine.
“The new project grew out of the three year project that focused on Jordan-Israel Collaboration in Disaster Preparedness and Response and was completed in November 2012. The major achievements of this collaboration were 14 Jordanian students that graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Emergency Medical Services, joint Jordanian-Israeli standard operating procedures for a joint response for natural disasters and a cadre of Jordanian and Israeli first responders and volunteers that were trained and exercised together to provide an effective emergency response,” she adds. Adini will direct the new project as well.
Objectives of the project:
The objective is to develop capacity and resilience of rural communities in Jordan, The Palestinian Authority and Israel to cope with disasters, including cross-border collaboration in emergency response.
The project is sponsored by the European Commission – Partnership for Peace Programme has provided funding of 400,000 Euro and the Ministry of Regional Cooperation is an additional sponsor.
1) To develop trained first responder teams in rural communities in Jordan, The Palestinian Authority and Israel that will provide life-saving services in disasters in rural communities;
2) To develop joint Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for cross-border collaboration of communities during disasters;
3) to generate collective knowledge that leads to common best practices in disaster management and sets the stage for cooperation, coordination and integration.
4) To enhance the resiliency of rural communities in the face of disasters;
5) to sustain and expand the activities of Development Strategy Forums (DSFs) of key emergency management stakeholders;
The project will be conducted over a period of 3 years:
1) 1st year – focus on the development of standard operating procedures and training materials, as well as on training 30 trainers from the three countries (10 from each entity);
2) 2nd year – dedicated to the creation and training of community emergency response teams (CERTs) – at least 60 trainees in each entity;
3) 3rd year – local, national and cross-border exercises will be conducted to generate knowledge and practice joint operations in response to a simulated disaster.
During the study period, annual assessments of community resilience and perceptions regarding regional collaboration and peace building will be conducted, utilizing a modified structured tool to provide an indicator for the level of resilience to disasters and attitudes toward peaceful coexistence achieved in each community, according to Adini.
Development Strategy Forums (DSFs) comprised of key stakeholders from targeted communities, field and policy makers from Jordan, Palestinian Authority and Israel will be established and sustained. The DSF will be responsible for guiding and overseeing all activities initiated and implemented during the project. The DSF will convene at least twice a year.