Community is the first responder in case of any disaster. To train and raise community volunteers in disaster response, NDMA launched a country-wide project titled ‘Aapda Mitra’, meaning ‘friends during disasters’. 6000 community volunteers were selected across the country from 30 most flood prone districts. Kottayam was selected for this project from Kerala. A state level project steering committee was formed vide GO (Rt) No. 2891/2017/DMD dated 30-6-2017 chaired by Director General, Fire & Rescue Services. The committee met frequently to provide leadership to the project and also to monitor the progress. 200 young, enthusiastic and energetic volunteers were selected from Kottayam district. Intensive 12 days residential training was given to these volunteers in Thrissur Fire Academy, Viyyoor in 8 separate batches. The inauguration of the first batch was done by Hon’ble Mayor of Thrissur on 22nd October 2018. Even after the successful completion of the above-mentioned training, various refresher trainings, drills were conducted engaging these volunteers. They also were instrumental in Gaja Cyclone response to Alappuzha district. During Covid response, many of them were involved in distribution of food, sanitizing public buildings, distributing hearing aids to persons with disabilities etc. Each of them is given an individual emergency responders kit which they can use during emergencies to help others. District Disaster Management Authority of Kottayam gives timely guidance to them and the local fire stations engage them on routine emergencies in their jurisdiction.
1. KSDMA and Fire and Rescue Services, 2021. Aapda Mitra – Kottayam: Project Completion Report. A project funded by National Disaster Management Authority. Report
2. Report of Covid19 preventive actions – Aapda Mitra Volunteers, July 2020. Report
3. AAPDA Mitra – Familiarization Programme, 9-12 July 2019. Report
4. Aapdha Mitra Community Rescue Volunteer Training Guidelines (Malayalam). Click here