Crisis management – where to start reforming in Ukraine

On 16-17 December, the users of the Polish mobile application RSO (Regionalny System Ostrzegania or Regional Warning System) began to receive notifications of the traffic jams and accidents, as well as icing and snowfall in all regions, every few minutes.

The RSO service, that Polish residents can install on their mobile devices, is just a small visual part of a large amount of work performed by crisis management centres at different levels in Poland.

During 4-10 December, the delegation from several oblasts of Ukraine, comprising representatives of the State Emergency Service, National Police, MinRegion and Local Government Development Centres, with the support of the U-LEAD with Europe Programme and Study Tours to Poland, was getting acquainted with the experience of responding to and preventing emergencies, ranging from the central level (government security centre) through regional centres to county and gmina levels (Polish gmina is an analogue of a Ukrainian hromada).

The Ukrainian side was interested primarily in the practical aspect of work of their Polish colleagues: the time of departure and arrival of rescuers to the accident scene – fire, flood or road accident – organisation and algorithms for coordinating the work of all rescue services and authorities from wójt (mayor) to the president and prime minister of the country.

“The idea of ​​establishment of a government security centre (GSC) envisaged the creation of a reliable and unbiased information channel for the country leaders on the emergency events happening on our territory. To do this, we researched the experience of several countries and chose the American version, which in our opinion is the most suitable for Poland,” said Miroslav Sobolevsky, GSC expert.

Establishment of the Polish crisis management system was a response to frequent floods that occur periodically in the northern, southern and western regions of the country. “The Law on Crisis Management was approved in Poland in 2007. The need for its adoption was caused by the so-called Flood of the Millennium, which attacked us in 1997 and took lives of 56 people,” said Andrzej Smołdziński, civil planning expert of the GSC, to the participants of the trip.

The Ukrainian guests actively communicated with the Poles, establishing contacts and future cooperation. During next days, they observed the operation of the rescue message centre of the Mazovian Voivodeship, Security and Crisis Management Department of Warsaw, county civil defense headquarters, and volunteer fire brigades in Brwinów, Żółwin and Ożarów.

The free time was spent on discussions on how to use Polish experience in Ukrainian realities to improve the plan of action in case of emergencies.

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