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Last Sunday, around forty people comprising citizen volunteers, hawker group leaders, police personnel from the Malabar Hill police station, personnel from the BMC – D ward, people from St. Elizabeth Hospital and the Malabar Hill Club took part in a training module on disaster management – the first of its kind to be held in Mumbai. The training session was organized by the Malabar Hill Residents’ Association.

The training comes in to force in the wake of the 26/11 terrorist attacks on Mumbai. The recent horrific event has brought to light the lack of first aid awareness of most of the Indians. In addition, it becomes imperative for every citizen to know how to prevent and protect themselves as well their neighborhood from major accidents as well calamities. The Association hopes this training module will be replicated in other parts of the city.

The daylong session saw the volunteers getting first know-how on:

Emergency medical procedures. What do you do when you see someone choking? Or you find someone lying unconscious in the room? These are some of the questions answered by Dr. Tilottama Mangeshikar, an anaesthetist and intensivist at some of Mumbai’s leading hospitals, who provided basic training in emergency medical procedures. Some of the highlights:-

  • Handouts and explanation of the standard procedures that need to be followed for various emergencies listed below –


    Heart attack/stroke

    Severe asthma/epileptic fit


    Fire and Burns/smoke inhalation


    Snake and insect bites


  • Volunteers got to see live demo and practical training of Heimlich maneuver, Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), the correct technique of bandaging.

Fire drill. The Mumbai Fire Brigade answered nearly 5,000 fire calls in 2007—a steadily rising figure. Such statistics are a grave reminder that the nation’s financial capital remains acutely vulnerable, on a daily basis, to one of the most basic threats to human life and property.

Officials from the Mumbai fire brigade provided basic information on:-

  • The various grades of fires – A B C D E
  • How to deal with the various types of fires
  • How to recognize and buy a good quality extinguisher
  • The life period of every extinguisher
  • Practical training on how to use the different types of fire extinguishers

Search and rescue methods. Officials from the BMC’s disaster management cell demonstrated ways of converting saris and bed sheets into makeshift stretchers in case of an emergency. They also taught volunteers the basics of tying knots with ropes. The session covered a variety of possible disasters. “In case of a flood, you can create your own floats using a minimum of eight plastic water bottles,” said Rajendra Lokhande of the disaster management cell.
People who attended the session welcomed the module. In the words of Mr. Mayank Tejura, a businessman residing in Malabar Hill, “It’s absolutely a must. I don’t think a person should be called educated if he does not know the basic fundas of first aid. It should be made compulsory education in schools and colleges.”
“The aim of such a workshop is to work with authorities in combating a crisis. Those who attended the workshop on Sunday can train other people and so on,” said Indrani Malkani, secretary of the Malabar Hill Residents’ Association.  Incidentally, the association recently intervened in a high court PIL on combating terror. “We have asked the high court to replicate the Malabar Hill model for training citizens across the city,” added Malkani.

Written by sreelakshmi

2 January, 2009 at 8:50 pm