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Women in civil defence at the core of secure society

posted on 06/05/2006: 1533 views

Women in Dubai Civil Defence play a big role in ensuring the safety of society and work to spread their experience among other society members to help save lives. A key focus area in awareness building process is to conduct field trips to schools and speak to pupils about safety at home, in an effort to inculcate good practices by catching them young. And female safety and prevention guides at the Civil Defence give training to spread awareness among the young.

Currently, there are four safety and prevention guides at the Dubai Civil Defence. Each one of them works on an individual safety project during the year. Asma Ozair Mubarak, a safety and prevention guide at the Civil Protection Department, had been working as a safety guide at Dubai Civil Defence for the past 11 years. Her job is to present awareness lectures and training sessions in government and private schools, especially to females. She does the same at elementary schools for boys.

"The topics we cover in the awareness lectures specialise in house fires and how to prevent them," said Asma. "Other topics include first aid, dangers of gas, and field training on using fire extinguishers," she said. Asma explained that the department prepares an annual plan and lists the schools and the timings for the guides to visit the schools.

"Sometimes we prepare lectures for the whole school consisting of some 400 to 500 pupils and sometimes the schools combine two to three classes for the lectures," she said. The responses of the pupils are generally overwhelming because they prefer field training such as training on using fire extinguishers and first aid kits.

"Safety lectures and practical training on safety tips can make a big difference in somebody's life," said Asma. "There have been some incidents where we felt our efforts helped in teaching others safety measures and saving lives," she said.

She said one of the incidents she remembers is when a boy in the elementary class saved his friend on fire by following the steps he saw during the practical training.

Asma said one of the most successful projects was the Safe Home project in 2001 that lasted three years. "The idea of the project was based on conveying the role of the Civil Defence to housewives. We used to choose two to three houses in every area and visit them to know more about the precautionary measures at these houses and aware the housewives about the safety and prevention steps they should take in case of an emergency," said Asma.

The process involved a checklist that questioned on the kind of the house, flammable materials, sources of dangers, electricity sources, gas sources and the danger sources that could affect children. "In case the housewife was not available, we used to complete the checklist with the maids," Asma said.

Fatima Hasan, another safety and prevention guide, spoke about her project, the Awareness Bus, that starts shortly. "The awareness bus will take elementary school and kindergarten children on field trips to historical places in Dubai." She said an awareness documentary and another on the landmarks of Dubai will be shown to the children.

A safety and prevention guide, Amal Basheer, said in 2002 they started a project to establish a female firefighting team. "We trained some students from the Higher Colleges of Technology on fighting fires and carrying out first aid. We wanted to prove that women are able to do such difficult jobs," said Amal. The project was successful and lasted until 2004. A huge number of women came forward to get training in firefighting. (Gulf News)


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