‘Disaster Preparedness’ Program held at Asia Retreat Centre, Malaysia

15Selangor (Malaysia): It was a fruitful weekend well-equipped with vast learning, diverse practical tips and insightful awakening with live demonstrations and hands-on experience on disaster preparedness. About 70 BKs took benefit from this first Malaysian National Brahma Kumaris Disaster Preparedness initiatives specially organised to help BKs to be more confident in responding to any eventual disaster challenges, be it for the self, home, centre, at work and in the community.
Resource support and expertise were drawn from five government agencies and private sector to prepare the participants, making the program very beneficial, timely and apt for the Malaysian family to take a great step forward to be more prepared at such times.
Among others, the Malaysian National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA) gave great support by sending their National SMART Team Training Section Chief (PgKB II Abdul Manaf bin Che Isa) and accompanied by Heavy USAR Section Chief (PgB Wan Sufyan bin Ismail). PgKBII Abdul Manaf presented a very lively, clear, useful and insightful overview on NADMA and its functional role, giving participants a good understanding of government procedures and mechanisms on Disaster Management and Emergency Preparedness. He distinctively pointed out that NADMA focuses on red spot i.e. critical disasters vis-a-vis yellow and green spot disasters and incidents and hence not accessible through emergency hotline 999/112 unlike other natural disaster calls and support from other government agencies. Participants understood the importance of having a clear relationship with the authorities (local, State and Federal levels) and the complementary role NGOs can play in the event of a national disaster or other emergency.
Jabatan Bomba Dan Penyelamat Malaysia (Fire & Rescue Department of Malaysia) captivated the participants with important in situ building fire safety measures to put in practice and practical rescue tips in the event of fire hazards of various forms. A total of ten officers (three from HQ in Putrajaya and seven from KLIA Sepang) lead by PgKB II Amram bin Jaya did a wonderful detailed presentation coupled with live demonstrations on fire rescue techniques, in particular the use of fire extinguishers which to many was their first lifetime experience.
First Aider, an expert from Asian First Aid Academy Sdn. Bhd., gave a powerful and practical demonstration on CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and the emergence of AED (automated external defibrillator) as an alternative modern device available in the market which has much higher success rate. CPR is to be performed only when the person has just died, pending the arrival of the ambulance and expert from medical and other related agencies.
In the evening, special workshop with video clips was held to give the participants a chance to put on their thinking caps on what are the preparations and items needed in the event of disaster physically and spiritually. This includes the ‘go bag’, ‘first aid kit’, three months supplies and spiritual preparedness. It was a new awakening for many that the first aid kit should not include any medication as per legal requirements.
The video on the World Destruction and the creative commentary on the power of nature and how we can help to recreate a better world took participants into deep experience and realisation of the connectivity and wisdom embedded within the eight powers in serving the elements of nature… “My pure thoughts keep the air clean between me and others. I purify the air when I pack up to transform that which is unkind into something useful to learn from and fill up with positivity and joy…to withdraw is to serve time… to serve water is to be like the ocean…”
Psychological first aider – Assoc Prof Dr Anasuya from Taylors University Malaysia empowered the participants with the key ABCs to crisis intervention in the event of disaster, i.e., – diminish arousal – facilitate functional behaviour, – support clear cognition  to help survivors to ground to their reality, to regain self- mastery and functional state. Equally important is SELF CARE while helping the survivors… to avoid the burnout. Don’t overdo. Stick to your assigned work schedule. Maintain your personal wellness routine including meditation and prayers. Eat healthy and get plenty of rest. She highlighted that in any disaster or crisis, leadership is important and the leader must never play hero in any rescue act but to remain calm and focused with a clear state of mind at the ground. He has to be a person who commands authority, able to act promptly and communicate effectively.
An emergency checklist was given to all. Building Facilities expert from AMD Global Services (M) Sdn Bhd, Mr Rajandran provided a detailed walk-through on the proposed emergency response plan needed particularly for ARC.
At global level, Brahma Kumaris resource support is available at brahmakumarisdrc.blogspot.com or via environment.brahmakumaris.org/resource link under ’BK Centres’ section.
Overall, this first Malaysian National BK Disaster Preparedness initiative has propelled the Malaysian family many steps ahead to be more prepared, to put in place the necessary and appropriate system and procedures, tools and equipment and continue training and development for the lead team and family to be ever-ready to safeguard and protect and to serve when emergency/disaster strike. More detailed and necessary training will follow.