European Project: Enhancing disaster management preparedness for the older population in the EU – PrepAGE
Leading coordination partner: The Austrian Red Cross.
Partners: The University of Innsbruck, the Bulgarian Red Cross, the Croatian Red Cross, the Latvian Red Cross and the British Red Cross.
Project implementation period: April 2014 – May 2016
- While some guidelines exist on special requirements for older people in case of disasters, integration into emergency and disaster preparedeness programmes remains insufficient in many countries.
- Groups of older people face specific risks like isolation, lack of support, impaired mobility and frailty and are more vulnerable with respect to coping with significant events such as power outages, extreme weather or flooding.
- The PrepAGE project has identified the needs, structures and measures to find out how to prepare and reach the target group of older people in case of emergencies and disasters.
- The project also took into account the resources and resilience of older people and brought together experts from the health and social sector and the field of disaster management.
Aims and objectives:
- The aim of the PrepAGE project was to introduce special requirements for older people into emergency and disaster preparedness and prevention programmes.
- Existing procedures in the participating organisations and countries were looked at and structures were put in place to enable improved access to older people, who may be isolated and living at home, have limited resources or mobility impairments, in case of disasters.
- The target group was on the one hand emergency and disaster management stakeholders from governmental organizations and civil society. On the other hand, older people themselves, health and social care personell and volunteers were targeted and their awareness raised to improve readiness to assist others in case of emergency or disaster.
The main activities and expected results of the project were:
- Community-based exercises in partner countries;
- Policy recommendations relevant to each partner country and general recommendations relevant to EU member States, including good practice examples;
- Guidelines for Emergency and Disaster Management organisations on how to incorporate the needs of older people into disaster preparedness plans;
- Adapting existing organisational emergency and disaster management procedures to include preparedness measures for the target group;
- Development of prototype information and materials to be used by local stakeholders
Contact person for the Latvian Red Cross: Ms. Agnese Trofimova, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel. 00 371 67686312
PrepAGE project finalizes with useful products available for all
In order to introduce special requirements for older people into emergency and disaster preparedness and prevention programmes, the project developed recommendations on national and European level.
Please see them here:
The recommendations have been summarised and incorporated into five key themes:
- Improving cooperation and coordination among stakeholders
- Developing robust and updated databases to ensure that vulnerable older people can be reached in the case of emergency (at the local level)
- Raising awareness and providing information
- Encouraging community involvement
- Offering psychosocial support focusing on the needs of older people
Please find the recommendations in Latvian, English, German, Bulgarian and Croatian below:
Each of the partner countries organized a community-based exercise in order to examine the existing situation regarding the disaster management preparedness in connection with older people. They included training in a real life situation (i.e., training of evacuating older people from a social care center where the inhabitants of the centre, the fire brigade and other assistant staff members and volunteers could test their knowledge on dealing with the emergency situation) or training and awareness raising sessions for older people. These community-based exercises helped to see how the needs and resources of older people are already being included in disaster response and which specific fields still should be improved.
A community-based exercise guide was made that summarises the experiences from the exercises conducted in partner countries and provides practical knowledge and recommendations for organisations to carry out such exercises themselves.
Please find the guides in Latvian, English, German, Bulgarian and Croatian below:
Evacuation training at LatRC social care centre
On 3rd September Latvian Red Cross (LatRC) organized a community-based exercise – evacuation training in the LatRC Social Care Centre Sturisi in Laidze, Talsi region. 130 of the inhabitants who live in the centre daily are mostly elderly people who suffer from dementia, and have mental or movement disorders. The training was organized within international project PrepAGE and it involved participation of stakeholders, rescue services, LatRC staff and volunteers.
The participants at the evacuation training were leading representatives of Talsi municipality, rescuers from State Fire and Rescue Service, State Emergency Medical Service, State Forest Service, Latvian State Police, Municipal Police, Latvian National Guard, employees of Security Company “TalComm” and staff and volunteers of LatRC social care centre. Among the observers there were representatives of Ministry of Welfare, Riga Social Welfare department, different social care centres, local inhabitants of the nearby areas, as well as the Estonian Red Cross colleagues.
After the practical part of the training everyone had an opportunity to observe demonstrations for the proper use of fire extinguishers and to learn how to give First Aid. LatRC introduced the audience with its experience within the international project “Aware & Resilient” which aimed at informing the society and ensuring its awareness in order to be ready in case of emergencies and disasters.
The event concluded with an evaluation discussion, when delegates from all included institutions gave their opinions and conclusions on what should be improved in rescue plans, focusing specifically on rescuing seniors and people with special needs. The main goal of this discussion was to come up with recommendations and improvements. The recommendations from each of the partner RC organizations will be put together in order to deliver specific European recommendations.
The aim of the PrepAGE project, which is co-funded by the European Commission’s DG ECHO, is to introduce specific recommendations for older people in emergency and disaster preparedness and prevention programmes. The PrepAGE project is identifying the needs, structures and measures to find out how to prepare and reach the target group of older people in case of emergencies and disasters. The project is also taking into account the resources and resilience of older people and is bringing together experts from the health and social sector and the field of disaster management. The project is being implemented in the following countries: Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Latvia and the United Kingdom from 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2016.
Latvian Red Cross is THANKING every participant and rescuers for their support, work and responsiveness!
See the other photos from the event HERE!
European Workshop and Partner meeting in Bulgaria
As part of the PrepAGE project, the Bulgarian Red Cross hosted a European Workshop and Partner Meeting from 1 and 3 June in Lozen, Bulgaria.
The aims for the European Workshop were to:
- bring together project partners and experts from all project partner countries in order to exchange experiences of older people in disaster preparedness and management
- compare national procedures in a European context
- develop joint European recommendations
- exchange and provide input to plans for community-based exercises.
Following some fruitful group work and discussion among the participants, partners were able to finalise the European and national recommendations, plan the next steps in detail for s community-based exercises, and address anyorganisational and administrative issues. Please see the national and European recommendations here:
- D-D.1_National workshop report_Austria
- D-D.1_National workshop report_Bulgaria
- D-D.1_National workshop report_Croatia
- D-D.1_National workshop report_Latvia
- D-D.1_National workshop report_UK
- D-D.2_European workshop report
- D-D.3_European Recommendations
The participants of the meeting were the Red Cross project partners as well as experts in the fields of civil protection, welfare and health and social care from Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, United Kingdom and Latvia.
The next phase of the PrepAGE project will be to run the community-based exercises. These are based on a common but flexible framework which will take place between September and December of 2015 in all partner countries. They are planned as one-day interactive events involving citizens and local key stakeholders in disaster management and representatives from the health and social care sector specialising in support for older people. Their common aim is to look at different aspects of the national and European recommendations and create exercises that will raise awareness of how older people can prepare for emergencies and will highlight the risks and issues that are particular to vulnerable groups. The exercises will also consider the role of older people as resources in all phases of the disaster management cycle.
Please see the photos from the meeting in Bulgaria below:
National Workshop in Latvia
During the last two months, all partners hosted National Workshops, which were organized to have a discussion in order to identify the needs, structures and measures of preparing and reaching older people in emergencies and disasters. The aim was to bring together experts from the health and social sector and the field of disaster management in order to evaluate the existing situation and to come up with recommendations that will improve the situation for older people in disaster situations at local, regional and national levels. The participants of the National Workshops were emergency and disaster management stakeholders from governmental institutions, representatives of the health and care sector for older people, NGO’s and the civil society.
As the aim of the PrepAGE project is to introduce the special requirements of older people to emergency and disaster preparedness and prevention programmes, it is essential to be clear about the existing procedures in the participating organisations and countries. The project equally focuses on older people, health and social care personnel and volunteers to raise awareness and improve readiness to assist others in case of an emergency or disaster. A specific focus is on the resources of older people in disaster preparedness and response and how they can support other people through their knowledge and previous experience.
The National workshop in Latvia was held on 16th April 2015 in Riga. LatRC had invited experts from governmental institutions such asState Fire and Rescue Service, State Emergency Medical Service, Ministry of Health, State Police, as well as the municipality of Riga, Riga1st hospital, NGO “SUSTENTO” for people with special needs, NGO “Apeirons” for people with disabilities, Riga Active Seniors Alliance“RASA“, LatRC social care center “Sturisi”, LatRC home care service, civil protection experts, etc.