Slovenia’s exceptional geographical diversity in conjunction with climate change increases the chance of various natural and other disasters, where protection and saving of human lives take precedence over any other protection and relief activities. In case of disasters we can suddenly be faced with a large number of injured and/or sick people as well as conditions that prevent professional health services from quickly reaching the population in need. It is in such circumstances that the values of solidarity and voluntary service really come to the fore as does the importance of the protection and relief forces that are fundamental to the Slovenian system of protection from natural and other disasters and disaster relief.
The fundamental mission of first aid teams is to provide direct treatment by offering first aid to the injured and sick in severe mass, natural and other disasters. It is indeed the timely and correct provision of first aid that can save an injured or sick person’s life, improve their chance of getting well soon and prevent disabilites. These are weighty reasons that compel us to carry out planned, timely and continuous training as well as maintain our knowledge in order to prepare for disasters and provide quality first aid. Training first aid team members expands the network of individuals who are capable of providing effective first aid to residents of a town where they live, work or are located at the moment somebody requires first aid.
In compliance with regulations and in agreement with relevant regional Red Cross associations, first aid teams are organised in all locales – companies, institutions, schools and municipalities. The Administration of the Republic of Slovenia for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief in cooperation with the Slovenian Red Cross and other non-governmental organisations moreover manages first aid teams that are capable of being deployed in any part of the country in case of mass disasters. Members of first aid teams acquire and polish their skills at basic and advanced training courses, which are the most comprehensive forms of training for non-health personnel. These courses are carried out by the Slovenian Red Cross as a public mandate based on the Slovenian Red Cross Act.
Municipalities, the Administration of the Republic of Slovenia for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief and the Slovenian Red Cross systematically provide equipment and training to first aid teams. Annual regional contests and a national competition for Civil Protection and Red Cross teams are meant to test their ability to operate under various conditions, to renew and maintain their practical skills as well as to entice team members to strive towards the best possible provision of first aid. This in turn bolsters the activities in the field of first aid in municipalities and companies (setting up of first aid teams, providing necessary staff, member training and equipment etc).
The 13 regional competitions are on average participated in by 130 first aid teams annually (coming from the Civil Protection, Red Cross, fire-fighting and other organisations), with the first-placed team in the national competition being sent to the First Aid Convention in Europe (FACE), where the best teams have been meeting since 1987.
I am extremely pleased that this year’s FACE will be held in Ljubljana, Slovenia. This is a vote of confidence for the Republic of Slovenia and the Administration of the Republic of Slovenia for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief will actively participate in organising and carrying out the event.
Darko But, Director General