Civil Defence in Disaster Management / Preparedness
Basic Principles of CD
The primary function of this organization is the measures taken for safeguarding civil population against any eventualities arising out of enemy actions during conflict in war whereby, necessary steps are taken to minimize the damage to life and property, and to bring back every activity of production to normalcy within the shortest time possible.
Civil Defence, therefore is the sum total of all measures which are intended to minimize effects of any conflict.
Civil Defence measures form an extension of the normal functions of government department, where in times of conflict the Health Department for example, is responsible for emergency hospital organization; the PWD for design and execution of protective works, etc.
The responsibility of departments extends to carrying out the policy & technical direction of Civil Defence measures with proper coordination of activities to harmonise with one general plan. This would prevent gaps or overlapping. This principle is to be observed throughout the administration.
It is imperative that any gap or overlapping of activity is avoided in order to avert confusion and unnecessary wastage of time, effort, resources and money. This could be achieved by:
Making an assessment of the need of different agencies / department so as to ascertain the overall picture.
Allocating definite responsibilities to various agencies / department.
Setting up of co-ordination meetings for consultation among various agencies.
Setting details of procedures in advance to avoid difficulties at the time of implementation of the Plan (SOPs, Systems to be in place).
Co-ordination by the Home Department as the Authority.
CD & HG in Disaster Situation
The CD & HG action plan is flexible enough to adapt to any disaster situation. The main disaster types the organization has been preparing for are:
Mobile teams for training and incident control have been formed for Fire Fighting, Search & Rescue and First-aid. Each team is placed under the command of a Team Leader:
The three phases of disaster are, (a). Pre-disaster phase, (b) Disaster phase and (c) Post-disaster phase. The initiatives being taken by the CD & HG in respect of each of the phases is outlined below:
a). Pre-Disater Phase:
Educating the community, which is the primary source of first responder to any disaster or calamity.
Taking up Civil Defence awareness and safety initiatives in schools / colleges.
Sensitizing government functionaries at all levels.
Involving employees of semi-government / PSUs.
Self-Capacity building – setting up CD training modules for civilian population, imparting training on Disaster Management to acquire skills to selected volunteers, etc.
b). Disaster Phase:
Enhanced capacity created at pre-disaster phase will come into play; community will act as first responder.
Deployment of Mobile teams to needed locations.
Launch Search & Rescue Ops.
Assist in taking precautionary measures on receiving advance warning of disaster.
c). Post-Disaster Phase:
Assist in providing First-aid to injured and evacuation to medical centres.
Setting up of ‘Information & Guidance Centres’ for injured, missing, nature of facilities / assistance available to effected.
Help in distribution of relief material.
Assist in maintenance of law and order / traffic control for smooth movement of emergency vehicles to effected areas.
Help the administration in assessing extent of loss to life and property.
Command Structure :
At State Hqs:
Director General / Commandant General = members of State Steering Committee on Disaster Management.
Is under administrative control of the Home Department; policy matters and directives of the Ministry of Home Affairs, GoI.
CD & HG officers directly under command & control of DG / CG at state level.
Co-ordinates action in line with Nagaland State Disaster Management Plan under the State Authority for DM.
At District Level:
Dy. Commissioner acts as the Controller of Civil Defence; Dy. Controllers from the department of CD & HG.
Dy. Controller assists in all matters relating to Civil Defence; is now responsible for disaster management also.
Follows line of action as per the District Disaster Management Plan under the District Disaster Management Authority.
New Developments on Civil Defence / National Policy Approach / Revamping of CD
New developments in the Civil Defence is taking place and revamping of the organization is already underway, enhancing its role in the paradigm shift in approach to disaster management in the country. A few of these points are given below:
The Building Material Technology Promotion Council (BMTPC) has identified 241 districts as multi hazard districts in India.
Civil Defence was earlier town specific; now town specific.
Community Capacity Building from grass root level to be taken up by CD.
Involvement of NCC / NSS / NYKS – there will be linkages with the CD. Home Guards to supplement on need basis.
Backbone of the CD services is the Warden Service. It is now proposed to reduce overall authorization and link their number to geographical units (village / block / Sub-Divs & Dist. Hqs), not population as was done earlier.
Each State will be provided with training infrastructure with an annual capacity of 3 to 5 thousand trainees.
Corporate houses / Private sector will be made to get involved.
Recommendations: The following has also been recommended:
i). Civil Defence will play a major role in assisting the District Disaster Management Authority in different phases of disaster particularly Pre-Disaster ( Public Awareness, Community Capacity Building and Preparedness), and in Mid-Disaster (Response & Relief) phases.
ii). Integration with Panchayati Raj Institutions / Local Bodies to ensure sustainability of initiatives, and
iii). Integration with UNDP-DRM Prog of the GoI to try out Pilot Projects in a few districts.