First aid for flood resilience

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

First aid knowledge and skills can play an important role in enhancing flood resilience. Find out how and why Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance partners are helping communities enhance their flood resilience by providing first aid training.

Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance partners are delivering first aid trainings to communities we work with across the globe. In all these communities it is the communities themselves, together with the Alliance partners they work with, who have identified the need for first aid training.

By applying the Flood Resilience Measurement for Communities (FRMC) framework and tool organisations and community members have identified ways in which each specific community is resilient, and what their weaknesses are. They have then collaborated to agree activities that will reduce the community’s weaknesses.

FRMC feedback workshop for community members in Bangladesh.
FRMC feedback and activity planning workshop for community members in Bangladesh. Photo by Concern Worldwide

How does first aid knowledge improve flood resilience?

During flood events it is not uncommon that communities become isolated or difficult to reach. Damaged or inundated infrastructure can mean that external relief and assistance is slow to materialise for people affected by, and hurt during, an emergency. Additionally, there is a risk that during extreme events emergency services are overwhelmed and unable to meet the needs of all those affected.

When this happens it’s vital that community members are able to look after and care for each other. By being trained in first aid people are better able to do so.

In March 2022 Practical Action joined forces with Zimbabwe Red Cross to deliver first aid trainings to community members in Chimanimani, a district in Zimbabwe where the memory of Cyclone Idai in 2019 is still fresh.

Trained community members can now provide timely assistance to those injured while waiting for external aid, which is often delayed as a result of disruptions to road infrastructure. A total of 80 community first aiders trained in March 2022 are now part of a pool of first responders for the district to rely on.

Admire Ndhlovu, Practical Action Zimbabwe

Leveraging community strengths to overcome weaknesses in Mozambique

Many of the communities we work with have limited access to emergency services and health facilities even during the best of times.

Using the FRMC approach with communities in Sofala we realized that there are places where there is little or no access to emergency services (health posts) where people are forced to travel miles in search of these services.

Liliane Manguele from Mozambique Red Cross

In these communities in Mozambique we found not only that people were lacking access to emergency services, the FRMC results also showed that communities had strong social capital. Community members help each other, particularly those in the community who are most vulnerable, in many ways.

Using the FRMC approach this strong social capital, the strong community cohesion, can be leveraged to enhance the community’s human capital – their access to health care in an emergency – through first aid trainings. This contributes to increasing the community’s flood resilience, making them better able to respond to and cope with a flood event.

Participants at first aid training delivered by Mozambique Red Cross.
Participants at first aid training delivered by Mozambique Red Cross. Photo by Mozambique Red Cross

You can learn more about how the FRMC understands and utilises the five capitals or 5Cs in this introduction to the FRMC framework and tool.

Delivering first aid training across the globe

In response to FRMC findings, and communities’ prioritisation of these, Alliance partners have delivered first aid training to communities in countries including the Philippines, Nicaragua, and Montenegro. This is often done within the context of local volunteer groups like these in Nepal and Peru, or this award-winning approach in Mexico.

It’s worth noting that these trainings provide benefits beyond the skills that attendees gain. First aid trainings are also used to familiarise people with the concept of disaster risk reduction and raise awareness of flood (and other hazard) risks that face the community.

The sessions provide opportunities for people to gather, to discuss public health concerns and emergency or disaster related issues. This means their social capital is strengthened while they gain life saving skills.

Get involved and build your own first aid skills

Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance member the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are the world leaders at delivering first aid training. Together they train more than 23 million people every year.

If you are working with a community that could benefit from first aid training you can find a range of useful resources on the IFRC first aid reference centre. Whether for your own benefit or that of people you work with, you can also look at what training opportunities your national Red Cross or Red Crescent society offers.

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