Dates: 01/11/2017 - 01/11/2017
Location: Zahle, Lebanon
project leaderSteve Jordan
Nicky Thurston, Helen Underhill and Karen Rutherford
In July 2017, Operation Florian, at the request of UNHCR Lebanon, Bekaa Valley Regional Office and the Save the Children, delivered a national workshop for the standardisation of Community Safety Education Training Programmes for NGO staff members working with refugee communities in Lebanon.
Possibly the first of its kind anywhere in the world, the workshop delivered specific community based fire safety training with staff from a range of NGOs working with refugee communities in Lebanon and largely supported by Save the Children Lebanon. The workshop focused on supporting the design and delivery of fire safety and prevention training programmes to refugee communities living in camps in both the informal tented settlements (ITS) and substandard buildings (SSB).
Realising the importance of this project, the team were reminded of the vulnerabilities of the camps to fires when they arrived in Lebanon at the same time as two significant fires in the informal tented settlements. The first fire occurred in Barr Elias in which the fire swept through one of the ITS, destroying all 102 tents and killing a two-year-old boy. The following day a neighbouring ITS, Qab Elias, suffered a similar tragedy with a six-year-old girl being killed when a tyre (used to weight the plastic sheeting in place) fell from the roof and trapped her in the burning structure.
It was agreed to deliver the workshop in 4 modules and was designed to work with NGO staff raising their level of awareness to understanding the risks and the key contributing causes of fires.
Module 1 addressed theoretical aspects of fire development and fire spread, causes of fire, understanding the hierarchy of control measures that could be used and child specific fire safety intervention techniques.
Participants in module 2 then put into practice their newly learnt skills and knowledge by delivering fire safety awareness activities in both ITS and SSB with both child specific led activities and working with community leaders and adults. In keeping with the objectives of the course the participants were involved in evaluating how they delivered the programmes in order to assist with the module 3 activity to design their own training programme to be delivered amongst their peers.
Finally, in module 4 the Operation Florian team worked with the course participants to understand and improve their own evaluation techniques to be able to be more effective as master trainers.
Throughout the 8 days the 18 participants who attended gained a significant amount of knowledge and more importantly confidence in being able to assess and reduce fire risk. One participant said: ‘I always thought anything to do with fire could only be dealt with by fire specialist. Now I realise that anyone can do this and help reduce fires’.
The team would like to thank all the staff at Save the Children and UNHCR for organising and facilitating this project. The Florian team hope this is the start of further opportunities to improve the lives of refugees in Lebanon and the rest of the world.
Operation Florian are extremely grateful to all supporters of this project. Without your assistance these projects would not be possible. You have helped to save lives and improve community safety: