For a couple days my second daughter was excitingly looking forward to “CO” (tse-oh) and finally on the morning of I asked my husband what “CO” meant. CO stands for civilna ochrana, literally civil defence, although it really means emergency preparedness.
This year, CO was in memory of Peter Opalek, a policeman from the neighbouring town. Last year he was shot while doing routine car stops along the road. It was a shock to all of Slovakia, as shootings are rare occurrences here.
The emergency preparedness training for children in Smolenice started in 2007 at one of the local kindergartens. For two years Mr. Opalek went to his nephew’s kindergarten to talk to the children about being a policeman. In 2009, they decided to include other emergency services and organized an event for neighbouring schools.
Mr. Opalek volunteered every single year to come show the children what policemen do, until his untimely death at 34 years of age.
This year there were 8 stations.
1. How to use a gas mask
2. Protective clothing
3. Meaning of signs and symbols
4. Manoeuvring in tight spaces
5. First Aid
8. Rescue dogs
The morning ended with a presentation by police and police dogs. I would not want to be chased by one of those dogs.
Are children taught emergency preparedness where you live?