WOMEN: Over a period of 12 days women from all over Goa were trained for disaster management and emergency response. The training exercise was conducted by the Goa State Disaster Management Authority in association with the Goa Fire Services. Above is a series of demonstrations and lessons taught during the course of the program.

By Our Staff Correspondent

THE Goa government will entrust the responsibility of dealing with drowning cases in the state with the Fire & Emergency Services. The award function which was used to felicitate the first batch of 37 Aapda Mitra/ Aapda Sakhi was held on May 24, 2022 at the Institute of Menezes Braganza Hall in Panaji. It was Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and Chief Secretary Puneet Kumar Goel who did the honours of handing out the certificates.
This voluntary force of Aapda Mitra and Aapda Sakhi, are given training to deal with emergency situations in the State, especially during natural disasters. Through this program the Goa Fire Services have used the opportunity to train women from across the state in disaster management and rescue operations.
Through this initiative GFS Director Nitin Raiker has stated the objective is to promote women empowerment by training young women to deal with emergency situations and bestow on them a sense of responsibility.
The scheme for training for women is being implemented for the first time by the Centre under the National Disaster Management team of appointing voluntary Aapda Mitra and Aapda Sakhi, stated the CM. “These are like the home guard services in the Police who work voluntarily. These services also began in a similar fashion like those who voluntarily joined the home guard services underwent training and later joined the Police force. They were given posts in the Police,” said Sawant, “In a similar way, in future Aapda Mitra and Aapda Sakhi will also get reservations in the services like the Fire and Emergency department.”

The CM congratulated all the 15 Aapda Sakhi and 22 Aapda Mitra for undergoing the 12-days training program. The government of India has introduced Aapda Mitra/Aapda Sakhi Scheme, wherein the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and State Disaster Management Authority, have signed the MoU for implementation of the scheme. The CM further stated that the Director, Directorate of Fire and Emergency Services, has been nominated as the Nodal Authority for implementation of the Aapda Mitra/Aapda Sakhi Scheme. Under this Scheme the government of India will provide central funds of Rs 1,58,000,00. Out of this Rs94,80,000 has already been released.
Since the start of the year the Directorate of Fire and Emergency Services have enrolled 350 community volunteers from North and South Goa, who will assist the community during any disaster. The training for the remaining community volunteers will be completed by December 2022. The Aapada Mitras/Aapada Sakhis who have been trained are capable of assisting the public during any Disaster in the State. They have been trained in various components of Disaster Management such as basic concepts of disaster management, disaster preparedness, search and rescue operations, earthquake protocols, Flood/Cyclone/Tsunami management and medical & first aid practices.
Director Nitin Raiker has pledged support to this program and the department’s initiative to train young women in particular. He also said the Goa government has also started 13 disaster alarming centres in all the talukas of Goa as part of its disaster management plan. There is scope in the future and the Goa government will be appointing these Aapda Mitra and Aapda Sakhis in the department. He advised them to take training from the National Water Sports Institute where small courses are available, so that they can upgrade their knowledge.

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