Nearly 500 pupils from the 2nd Primary School Konjic participated this Wednesday in the tactical fire exercise as a part of marking the International Day for Disaster Reduction - 13 October. The aim of this exercise was education of pupils and teachers on how to behave in case of fire in their school, and it was completed with the highest marks, after full evacuation of the school in only six minutes, which is direct result of the work with children in this school.
Exercise for this school with the highest number of pupils in Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (B-H) was organized by the Centre for child rights Konjic in cooperation with the Department of Civil Protection and Fire Service of Konjic Municipality, Emergency Medical Service of Konjic General Hospital and Konjic Police Administration, with support from B-H Ministry of Security, Federation of B-H Civil Protection Department, Department of Civil Protection and Fire Service of Herzegovina-Neretva Canton, Konjic Municipal Administration, Association for Fire Protection and Environment Protection „Little Fireman" from Sarajevo and Save the Children.
„The exercise was a very impressive experience for me. What I liked the most was how children were interested in it. This is a proof that practice is the best teacher," said Armin Cosic, high school student and member of the Center for Child Rights following the exercise. He participated in it as member of a children group that is being trained within the child-led early warning system programme, students of Konjic's primary and high schools.
„Exercises like this should be held at least once a year in every school in order to get children familiar with protection and rescue procedures. Children preparedness and knowledge are not at satisfactory level and this should be addressed. When it comes to emergency services, there is a need for continuous education and trainings, as well and improvement of equipment," stated on this occasion Husein Hodzic, Deputy Head of Department of Civil Protection and Fire Service of Konjic Municipality.
Director of 2nd Primary School Konjic, Ramiz Katanić, is satisfied with the conducted exercise and its results. „Pupils are now familiar with the evacuation procedure in case of fire or other natural disasters. This is a big thing, children learned how to leave the school in appropriate manner in such occasions"
„This exercise is significant on several levels. It represents a contribution to 3. Priority action of the Hyogo Framework for Action, which is use of knowledge, innovation and education to build a culture of safety and resilience at all levels. Additionally, we made situation analysis of fire protection in schools in the area of Konjic Municipality, and it is especially significant since it was conducted with children participation," stressed Idriz Brkovic, Head of Department for Strategic Planning and Protection and Rescue Measures within the Sector for Civilian Protection of B-H Ministry of Security.
The exercise was conducted within the project „Child-led Early Warning System" implemented by the Centre for Child Rights Konjic, with support from Save the Children in North-West Balkans. „The goal of the project is to establish early warning system for Konjic Municipality in which children are one of the key actors in disaster risk and impact reduction in local community," explained Alma Alagic, Centre Director.
In order to achieve this demanding goal for the largest municipality in B-H, cooperation with institutions at the local, entity and state level working in this sector is necessary. So far the project received wide support and understanding, which was confirmed through presence of high number of officials from all levels of authorities at the exercise. „Significance of this exercise reflects in participation of all actors from the protection system in one program (municipality, civil protection, fireman, ambulance), but also in support it received from B-H Ministry of Security," emphasized Ahmed Pjano, Programme Director of Save the Children in North West Balkans.
„We strive to educate children to become active holders in early warning system and in this context, we will be working on risk assessment, planning and realisation of concrete actions in order to reduce risks identified by children," added Pjano, stressing that this is a pilot project that might be extended on the basis of achieved results.
Within project implementation, natural disasters risk assessment will be developed, graphic calendar mapping the risks for every month in local community that will be distributed to all schools in Konjic Municipality area, as well as evacuation plan for schools and purchasing of fire extinguishers for schools. Further project priorities will be defined on basis of issues identified by children participating in project implementation.