Fake blood to paint typical injuries in a natural disaster.
It is part of a European civil protection exercise of rescue teams from five EU countries near Revingeby in Southern Sweden.
More than 150 members of emergency response teams were participating in the four day training event, including search and rescue experts, doctors and nurses, as well as evaluators and observers from a dozen other countries.
Their goal is not only to show their professionalism in the event of a humanitarian crisis, but to improve cooperation between the national teams.
The EU Civil Protection Mechanism
Whenever the scale of an emergency overwhelms the response capabilities of a country, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism enables coordinated assistance from its participating states.
The EU Civil Protection Mechanism can be activated for all types of disasters.Recent examples include the Ebola outbreak in West Africa (2014), the flooding in Western Balkans (2014), conflict in Eastern Ukraine (2015) and the European refugee crisis (2015). The Mechanism can also be activated to respond to marine pollution emergencies, in which case it works closely with the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA).
Any country in the world, as well as the UN and its agencies and certain international organisations, can make requests for assistance through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
Civil protection assistance to countries affected by disasters consists of capacities of the participating states, such as relief items, expertise,intervention teams and specific equipment. Experts are also deployed under the Mechanism for needs assessment and coordination with the local authorities and international organisations, as well as to advice there questing country on prevention and preparedness measures. When civil protection assistance is requested by third countries, it is often combined with humanitarian aid.
From a control centre, a series of challenges – such as aggressive patients or theft of equipment – are planned in order to break the teams out of their routine.
Over time, each country and each organization has developed its own way of doing things – but this does not always work well in a crisis that requires cooperation and communication with international teams. Drones have been used for a while to better oversee disaster areas.
This time they are also transporting blood samples to two European field laboratories for analysis on possible diseases like Cholera and Ebola. The labs have already been to Africa during recent Ebola outbreaks.
The EU is striving to improve its emergency response capacity. A voluntary European Medical Corps was set up just last year.
But it will take time and more exercises of this kind to boost Europe’s civil protection mechanism to better face humanitarian crisis.
Find out more about the EU’s Civil Protection Mechanism
Contributed by Wolfgang Karg