State policy for training the population for protective actions during disastrous situations

The key legislation in Bulgaria concerning the general population’s preparation and training for reaction in cases of emergency. The main institutions in the country, which are responsible for or connected with the state policy for civil protection.

Рубрика Безопасность жизнедеятельности и охрана труда
Вид статья
Язык английский
Дата добавления 17.04.2018
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Slavova V.B., Dimitrova D.A., Ivanov V.A.,

Parashkevova B.M., Vasileva A.V., Platikanova M.S.



Slavova V.B.1, Dimitrova D.A.2, Ivanov V.A.3, Parashkevova B.M.4, Vasileva A.V.5, Platikanova M.S.6

1 Assistant Professor, MD, Trakya University, Medical Faculty, Department "Neurology, Psychiatry and MDS", Section "Medicine of the disaster situations", Stara Zagora, Bulgaria,

2 PhD, MD, Medical University of Sofia, Faculty of Public Health, Department "Preventive medicine", Discipline "Disaster medicine", Sofia, Bulgaria,

3 Professor, MD, Trakya University, Medical Faculty, Department "Neurology, Psychiatry and MDS", Section "Medicine of the disaster situations", Stara Zagora, Bulgaria,

4 Associate Professor, PhD, MD, Trakya University, Medical Faculty, Department "Social medicine and health care management", Stara Zagora, Bulgaria,

5 Student, Trakya University, Medical Faculty, Stara Zagora, Bulgaria,

6 Associate Professor, PhD, MD, Trakya University, Medical Faculty, Department "Hygiene, Infectious diseases and Epidemiology", Section "Hygiene and Ecology", Stara Zagora, Bulgaria

The readiness of the population for protection in emergency situations is essential to reduce the risk to life and health. Priority activities for protection in emergency situations are the formation of state policy for public education, including of governing structures, students, reaction forces and volunteers. Training at all levels is an important part of the complex events through which prevention is done in order to reduce the effects of disasters. Notwithstanding the achievements until now, new realities require a continuing process of improvement and achieving greater efficiency in the overall training activity in protection during emergency situations.

Keywords: disaster, protection during disastrous situations, training of the population.



Славова В.Б.1, Димитрова Д.А.2, Иванов В.А.3, Парашкевова Б.М.4, Василева А.В.5, Платиканова М.С.6

1 Помощник профессор, Фракийский университет, Медицинский факультет, Кафедра "Невропатология, психиатрия и медицина бедственных ситуаций", Секция "Медицина бедственных ситуаций", Стара Загора, Болгария,

2 Кандидат наук, Медицинский университет, Факультет общественного здравоохранения, Кафедра "Превантивная медицина", София, Болгария,

3 Профессор, Фракийский университет, Медицинский факультет, Кафедра "Невропатология, психиатрия и медицина бедственных ситуаций", Секция "Медицина бедственных ситуаций", Стара Загора, Болгария,

4 Доцент, Фракийский университет, Медицинский факультет, Кафедра "Социальная медицина и управление вопросов здравоохранения", Стара Загора, Болгария,

5 Студент, Фракийский университет, Медицинский факультет, Стара Загора, Болгария,

6 Доцент, Фракийский университет, Медицинский факультет, Кафедра "Гигиена, инфекционные заболевания и эпидемиология", секция "Гигиена и экология", Стара Загора, Болгария

Подготовка населения по защите при чрезвычайных ситуациях имеет существенное значение для снижения риска здоровью и жизни людей. Приоритетной деятельностью для защиты при чрезвычайных ситуациях является формирование государственной политики обучения населения, в том числе органов управления, учащихся, сил реагирования и добровольческих подразделений. Обучение на всех уровнях является важной частью комплекса превентивных мероприятий по снижению последствий бедствий. Динамика чрезвычайных ситуаций определяет необходимость в непрерывном процессе совершенствования и достижения большей эффективности в целостной системе обучения по защите при бедствиях, авариях и катастрофах.

Ключевые слова: бедствия, защита при чрезвычайных ситуациях, обучение населения, государственная политика.


Over the last few years data released from UN and WHO show that the scale and frequency of natural disaster have been on the increase. While the absolute number of major natural disasters in the world for 1975 was calculated to less than 80, in 2010 that number reached 400. These figures show that, for that period the increase was a bit more than fourfold. Climate change; the population growth, which increases the pressure on natural resources; together with the process of urbanization; industrial activities and the deteriorating state of the environment are claimed to be among the major factors contributing to the occurrence of disaster situations. Among other challenges are the ever increasing number of vulnerable states, facing the risk of instability or civil conflicts, as well as the threat of terrorist attacks (chemical, radiological, transport, etc.).

In cases of emergency of different character, scale and severity, extreme situations occur in the affected regions, in general terms and from a medical point of view. The suddenness of occurrence, as well as the sharp discrepancy between the necessary and the available means and capacity to deal with the aftermath of a disaster call for specific prior training and pre-planning of reaction schemes for public protection and provision of medical support in the center of a disaster area.

According to data released from Fire Safety and Civil Protection Directorate, in Bulgaria the list of most frequent significant disastrous events is headed by road accidents, fires and industrial incidents involving harmful substances. The second place, in terms of frequency, is taken by heavy storms, snowdrifts, road-icing, heavy rain and flooding.

The population's preparedness for proper behavior, reaction and ability to give first aid in cases of disaster is of vital importance for diminishing the risk of life loss and adverse health effects of the people in the affected regions. Adequate preparation would guarantee timely and effective reaction in terms of providing help and protection to disaster victims.

Another important thing is to maintain a well-structured system of protection and prevention in cases of disaster. Such a system should include the development of action plans and reaction methods of both the specialized reaction forces and the general population.

To this date, the legislation of the Republic of Bulgaria has been synchronized with EU regulations for civil protection in cases of disasters but they have not yet been adequately adapted to the specific conditions in the country.

Aims and objectives. The aim of this paper is to examine the state policy of providing emergency reaction and protection training to the general population.

We set ourselves the following tasks:

1. To analyze key legislation in the Republic of Bulgaria concerning the general population's preparation and training for reaction in cases of emergency.

2. To investigate the main structures and institutions in Bulgaria, which are responsible for or connected with the state policy for civil protection in cases of disaster.

Methods and materials. Descriptive analysis of scientific publications and legislation acts, concerning the aims, objectives, principles and mechanisms of disaster reaction training of the general population, as provided for in the state policy.

Results and discussion

The formation of a state policy for providing wide population disaster reaction training, including specialized training of disaster management bodies, students, reaction forces and volunteers [1] should be made a priority in the framework of disaster management and civil protection. Such training, on all the above mentioned levels, is a vital part of a complex of activities, aimed at prevention and diminishing the harmful effects of a disaster. Despite what has been achieved so far, the new realities we are facing now call for continuing the process of improvement with regard to achieving higher effectiveness of the overall educational activity in civil protection and disaster management [2, 3].

The insufficient public awareness about the principles, aims and specific actions for diminishing the risk in cases of disaster, as well as about what the proper reaction before, during and after a disaster strikes should be, is serious challenge. The measures taken so far in that direction have been sporadic and restricted in scope. Attention, thus, should be paid on applying modern methods of education and skills training by promoting practical programs for risk management and reaction training at primary, secondary schools and universities. It is necessary to develop and adopt programs for specialized training and simulation exercises for different cases of emergency in urban areas, large infrastructural premises, such as schools, hospitals, etc., acknowledging the role of volunteers in strengthening the local capacity for disaster management [4, 5].

Disaster management training of representatives of the executive authorities is obligatory and is effected in accordance with the Disaster Protection Act of the Republic of Bulgaria (DPA) and other respective legislation, regulating disaster response and protection training [6, 7]. The training follows the educational programs developed by the Ministry of Education as part of the state educational requirements. Preparation of the units of the Integrated Rescue System (IRS) is carried out through training sessions, national and international exercises. The different units of the IRS annually participate in the preparation and execution of SEESIM - training exercises organized by EU and NATO EARDCC [8]. Volunteer units undergo specialized training in accordance with the provisions of DPA, aiming at achieving interoperability with the units of the IRS, in fulfilling their role in civil protection and the execution of rescue and emergency recovery efforts, depending on their structure and purpose [9, 10, 11]. For the purpose of enlarging the scope, the quality and effectiveness of the training, efforts are being put into developing and modernizing the educational and training facilities of the Professional Training of Rescue Workers Centre in Montana, as part of the European Disaster Response Training Network [2, 12, 13].

The presence of disaster response training and the development of first aid skills in the educational system (at primary, secondary schools and universities) is of vital importance for achieving adequate preparedness for disaster response. In accordance with the National Educational Programme, within the framework of secondary education, such training is implemented in the school curriculum, approved by the Minister of Education and Science [14, 15]. The methods used are conventional lessons in class or extracurricular and out-of-school, non-formal forms of education. The educational model applied is based on modern teaching methods, including interactive means and tools [16]. Disaster response training at school is carried out through:

· Methodological teacher support, developed in the framework of the project Man-made and Natural Disaster Prevention through the Secondary School System in Bulgaria, carried out by the Ministry of Education and Science. The teaching materials have been developed as modern, interactive educational tools and they have been distributed to all schools.

· Teachers and experts from the Regional Inspectorates of Education, trained to work with the interactive educational materials, who can also act as trainers of other teachers.

· Various extracurricular and out-of-school training sessions, which contribute to achieving higher effectiveness of the disaster response training. Depending on age-group characteristics of the students, different annual disaster response competitions are organized; children's drawing Mission Rescuer competitions; plain air drawing and painting workshops are organized as a reward for the competition winners.

In most universities, the programs available do not include any training in disaster response and emergency first aid skills, except for in Medical Universities. It is highly recommendable for autonomous tertiary education institutions to include two topical modules in their programs: the first one offering general knowledge about the types of natural and man-made disasters and the second one - offering specific training in disaster response and management, depending on the specificity of the programme and with regard to students' future profession and field of work [17]. In the National Programme for Civil Protection, a recommendation has been included to set up an optional training course in Civil Protection and Disaster Response at the Bulgarian Military Academy. For some programs of the professional qualification of teacher, at the discretion of the Academic Authority, it is recommendable to include a training course in Civil Protection and First Aid Skills [2].

The annual Civil Protection Plans envisage the initiation of state educational requirements for the formal establishment of the professional qualification of Emergency Response Rescuer, under code 861020, with specialization in Search, Rescue and Relief Support, under code 8610201, as well as the necessary learner documentation for acquiring a 3rd degree professional qualification [18].

The National Programme for Civil Protection also envisages the development of programs and materials for general population training. They apply interactive training methods and the Internet and are appropriate to be used for both employed and unemployed people and reflect current disaster response standards, as provided for in the Disaster Protection Act. Disaster response preparation and practical training exercises are carried out together with the Bulgarian Red Cross, the Ministry of the Interior (the Police) and the Ministry of Defense structures [19, 20]. An important direction in the development of educational programs is the systematic disaster response training of unemployed people within the period they receive unemployment benefits. With regard to improving the disaster response training provided, an accent is put on enlarging the scope and capacity of available forms to cover vulnerable social groups like people with visual, auditory or physical disabilities, as well as people with chronic medical conditions, through close interaction between institutions in order to determine the most appropriate forms of training for the specific characteristics of the target groups [2].

The National Plan for the implementation of the National Civil Protection Programme envisages disaster response information and awareness campaigns among the wide population through:

· Preparation and distribution of printed, interactive and instructional materials (the Alphabet of Survival leaflet);

· Fire Safety Week;

· An open lesson at kindergartens under the motto "A Person Has Time to Make a Decision if Water, Fire, Earth and Air They Shall Destroy or Tame With Precision" [18, 21].

For the purpose of improving disaster response training and awareness, it is important to increase the effectiveness of cooperation with the media, and also to focus on the transition from reaction-based to active prevention information policy.


According to existing legislation and organization framework, disaster response training of the wide population is a key element in a set of preventive measures for diminishing the harmful effects of disasters. Disaster response awareness, appropriate behavior and practical protection skills can largely contribute to saving human lives in cases of disaster. This calls for improvement in the organization and effectiveness of disaster response training by introducing modern methods of teaching and training. The overall training activity should be constantly enlarged and modernized, continually provided and consistent in its approach. state population protection emergency


1. Decision No 270 from 7 May 2014 г. for the adoption of the National Civil Protection Programme (NCPP) 2014-2018 and the Annual Plan for 2014 г. for the implementation of the NCPP 2014-2018, 2014.

2. National Civil Protection Programme 2009-2013, Council of Ministers, Sofia.

3. Pernikova M., A Good Practice For Flood Response and Protection, First National Civil Protection Conference: Disaster Protection, Management and Relief, Sofia 17 May 2012 -

4. Disaster Risk Decrease Strategy for the Republic of Bulgaria 2014-2020, Sofia, 2013 - http://www.saveti

5. Strategy for the Formation of Voluntary Units for Civil Protection in Cases of Natural Disasters, Fires and Other Emergency Situations in Bulgaria.

6. Bulgarian Red Cross Act, published in Stata Gazette No 87 from 29 1995, last edited in SG No 80 from 14 Oct. 2011.

7. Law on the National Emergency Call 112 System, published in State Gazette No 102, from 28 2008З, last edited in SG No 88 from 09 Nov. 2010.

8. Slavova V., A. Vassileva, V. Ivanov, D. Dimitrova, European Policies on Civil Protection, Disaster Relief and Humanitarian Help, General Medicine Journal No 4, 2014, 18-22.

9. Catalogue of Initial and Specialized Military Training Courses for 2014/2015, Ministry of Defence, 2014.

10. Catalogue of Initial and Specialized Military Training Courses for 2015/2016, Ministry of Defence,

11. Catalogue of Initial and Specialized Military Training Courses for 2016, Ministry of Defense.

12. Penchev N., "Rescuers Trained at International Training Centre in Montana", International Centre for Vocational Training of Rescue and Relief Workers, Directorate General of Fire Safety and Civil Protection at the Ministry of the Interior.

13. National Programme for Civil Protection 2014-2018, Council of Ministers, Sofia, 2013.

14. Guidelines for Organizing Disaster Response and First Aid at School, Ministry of Education and Science, 2015.

15. Qualification 2014, National Programme of the Ministry of Education and Science, MES, 2014.

16. National Civil Protection Action Plan, Council of Ministers, Sofia, 2010 -

17. Angelova D., The Role of Disaster Response Training and Exercises - Practical Aspects, First National Civil Protection Conference: Disaster Protection, Management and Relief, Sofia 17 May 2012 -

18. 2013 Annual Plan for Implementation of the National Programme for Civil Protection (2009-1013), Sofia, 2012 -

19. Active Care Project for First Aid in Road Accidents Training of New Drivers and Taxi Drivers, Bulgarian Red Cross, 2014.

20. First Aid in Road Accidents Project - first air training for new drivers as part of driving courses, Bulgarian Red Cross, 2003.

21. 2014 Annual Plan for Implementation of the National Programme for Civil Protection (2014-1018), Sofia, 2013 -

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