Somerset celebrates emergency volunteers

To continue Volunteers’ Week celebrations, registration has opened for the 4th annual Somerset Resilience event, with residents invited to sign up to a month of free, interactive online training with emergency incident responders and volunteer organisations. Volunteers’ Week celebrates the contribution volunteers make, recognising the huge positive impact they have, with many of these volunteers key to their community’s emergency preparedness.

The ‘Somerset Prepared’ partnership is organising the resilience event which will run across October. Throughout the month, there will live online talks, videos, toolkits and training which aims to help communities become better prepared for emergency situations, as well as looking at wider preparedness measures that anyone can take.  

Anyone who registers will receive a goody bag and information pack, and weekly emails throughout October, signposting to pre-recorded videos and written toolkits on a variety of subjects.  

Somerset Prepared co-chair and Environment Agency organiser Hannah Ovett said: “Interactive events like this are an excellent way to raise awareness with local communities and individuals and help them to take vital steps in preparing for an incident, which could ultimately save lives.  

“The month’s sessions will cover a range of subjects from how to use Natural Flood Management to Food Resilience and First Aid, and will also feature case studies from communities who have written and used emergency plans during incidents.”  

“The community chat sessions will be a great opportunity for groups to hear from each other, share their experiences and get together in a safe, online environment, whilst the training workshops are scheduled to help with topics we are consistently seeing raised by communities, including recruiting volunteers, how to assess risk and GDPR.” 

Sessions will be led by a range of organisations including the Environment Agency, South West Ambulance Service Trust, Communities Prepared, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, Somerset Rotary, Somerset Civil Contingencies Unit, Spark Somerset, and Community Council for Somerset.   

To attend this free event, residents can register their interest on the Somerset Prepared website www.somersetprepared.org.uk.  

#30days30waysUK to launch its 6th annual preparedness campaign this September

30days30waysUK.org.uk is a professional volunteer network with one common purpose: to raise awareness and capacities for emergency preparedness and community resilience. Preparedness concerns us all at all levels. No one is ever alone in an emergency and everyone can play their part by being informed, prepared and knowing where to access and give help. A little personal preparedness can go quite a long way towards community resilience. Informed and prepared individuals make resilient communities. This has yet again been demonstrated during these difficult COVID-19 times where so many have done and given so much. However, there are other risks.    

Since 2015, the hashtag #30days30waysUK runs every year during ‘September is Preparedness Month’ across social media with daily topics sharing stories, tips and resources about all kinds of hazards and how to take action. Quite simply, we discuss over 30 days how everyone can be better informed and prepared in 30 different ways.

A little personal preparedness can go quite a long way towards community resilience.

Everyone is welcome to participate by following the hashtag and key social media accounts such as @30days30waysUK. Now in its 6th year and gaining ever wider support, #30days30waysUK can get quite busy. Therefore, those that wish to simply access the shared core resources can subscribe to receive the free campaign email via 30days30waysUK.org.uk/subscribe.

So, what is in store for #30days30waysUK 2020 and how is the campaign different from previous years?

2020 is a very special and important year! With COVID-19 now a daily reality and compounding other hazards, the concept of preparedness has acutely gained in relevance and urgency. We adopt the UN definition:

            The knowledge and capacities of governments, professional response and recovery organisations, communities, and individuals to effectively anticipate, respond to, and recover from the impacts of likely, imminent or current hazard events or conditions. For instance, installing early warning systems, identifying evacuation routes, and preparing emergency supplies. 

In other words: preparedness concerns us all and we hugely look forward to exploring many personal and community preparedness aspects during September.

With COVID-19 now a daily reality and compounding other hazards, the concept of preparedness has acutely gained in relevance and urgency.

As in previous years, the campaign takes a positive, motivating and gamified approach #BePreparedNotScared. The use of memes and cartoons helps break down cultural and language barriers and the free BINGO makes keeping track of the campaign fun and with a sense of achievement: all 30 days completed and crossed off – BINGO! Access it via 30days30waysUK.org.uk/join.

New this year is a full 10-day count-down to gather momentum and reach wide audiences and there will be a full introductory day. Without giving too much away, we can reveal that this year there are a good number of brand-new never before discussed preparedness topics while those that have followed us for some years will recognise old favourites and particularly pertinent themes. However, content and partners vary so there is always something new and interesting to learn. Some themes are ‘fixed’ in the sense that they tap into international contexts such as the International First Aid Day on 21st September.

For more information and to join visit 30days30waysUK.org.uk, like and follow Twitter and Facebook @30days30waysUK

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