Director-General of Police, Jacob Punnoose, said here on Wednesday, that disaster management would be made part of the training programme for new recruits to the police force.
Delivering the keynote address at a training programme on disaster management for officials of the Police and Fire and Rescue Services, he said, the lack of relevant training was a major hindrance for policemen involved in rescue operations.
Mr. Punnoose said the absence of equipment was also an impediment in disaster management activities. “Fire tenders are still not equipped with mobile communication devices and rescue services do not have even basic equipment like emergency lights, diving kits and debris handling devices,” he said.
Mr. Punnoose said auto-rickshaw drivers and policemen were invariably the first to reach a disaster site in the State. Basic training in disaster management will help them carry out rescue work more efficiently and minimise casualties, he said.
Mr. Punnoose highlighted the need for a volunteer corps at the village level for disaster management. “Expert divers, swimmers and climbers can be identified and trained. Similarly, policemen should be trained to identify potential disasters and prepare contingency plans in the areas they are posted,” the police chief said.
Mr. Punnoose proposed the establishment of a resource cell functioning round-the-clock to provide information support and expert advice about disaster management and crisis handling.
Delivering the inaugural address, Revenue Minister K.P. Rajendran said the government had initiated moves to strengthen the disaster management authorities at the district level. He said efforts were on to identify youth volunteers and train them in rescue activities.
Mr. Rajendran said the government had launched a major initiative to strengthen the disaster response mechanism. “Work on the proposed National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) centre at Kozhikode is expected to commence in two months. A State Disaster Response Force unit will be established at Peerumedu in Idukki and the government has identified 10 acres at Thrissur for a State Civil Defence Institute. District-level civil defence institutes will also be set up at Kochi, Kozhikode, Kannur and Kottayam, he said.
The Minister said the Border Security Force (BSF) unit to be stationed at Thrissur would also be trained in disaster management. A second BSF unit is also proposed to be set up at Kannur, he added.
The three-day training programme is organised by the Institute of Land and Disaster Management (ILDM) and the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM).
NDRF Chief Commandant P.S.B. Nair, ILDM Director Lalithambika and Head of the Faculty of Disaster Management, K.G. Thara, were present. The workshop will expose the participants to emergency response methods to building collapse, dam breakage, nuclear, chemical and biological threats, rail, boat and air accidents and chemical hazards.