by Julia Fredriksson
Injuries are a serious problem for the health of any population. Cooperation between Russia and Sweden promotes accident preparedness at the local level with the focus on reducing the number of accidents and injuries. The threats facing rescue personnel in emergency operations have changed in recent years too. They are still the fi rst on the accident scene and play an important part in saving lives and helping the injured people, but as well as being heroes they often become victims. There is a need to improve the capability and knowledge of rescue personnel in order to minimize secondary incidents.
The UNEP/APELL cooperation programme in the North West Region of Russia is addressing several scenarios, now or in the future: a severe traffi c accident in the countryside; emission of toxic gas (chlorine) from an industrial plant; a natural disaster caused by a severe snowstorm and an ammonia spill as a result of a transport collision; fl oods involving various damage scenarios, and petro-chemical and pipeline risks.
One of the results of the APELL programme is the start of a network linking competent authorities, not only at government level, but also local-level in the North West Region of Russia and in Nordic countries. They have pooled risk assessment know-how and experience and introduced adequate prevention and preparedness measures to guarantee effective cooperation and response in an emergency.
The goal is to continue cross-border cooperation, developing and enhancing the ability to prevent accidents and improving risk communication with the general public through better information and a greater awareness of risks and countermeasures. Collaboration will contribute to achieve safe and secure communities in the North West region of Russia.
Dr. Julia Fredriksson is a Senior Executive Offi cer at the EU and International Affairs Department of the Swedish Rescue Services Agency.