Children’s Civil Defence Education
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.
If ever an earthquake comes to Slovakia and kids need to crawl under/through the rubble.
Two members of the Emergency Preparedness Management division. With the mascot, of course.
Are children taught emergency preparedness where you live?
Jul 02, 2015 @ 06:17:22
Sadly, civil defense is a distant memory in the US…
Jul 02, 2015 @ 09:17:06
It’s kind of ironic you say that, actually. Here in Slovakia there is no sense of the right of the people to protect themselves from the government (although, Lord knows, they’ve had more experience of needing it). There are some hunters who have rifles, but I don’t know anybody with a handgun. This was more about preparing kids for emergencies and letting them know that police are scary people.
Jul 14, 2015 @ 23:53:20
To the right to protect themselves against government – if you mean something like US 2nd amendment and right to own arms then you are right, there is no such provision in Slovakia. But under Article 32 Constitution of Slovakia citizens can resist to anybody who would try to remove their basic human rights or liberties guaranteed by constitution in the case if effective use of legal means is not possible. It is mostly theoretical, but nevertheless such right exists in Slovakia
Jul 15, 2015 @ 12:03:52
I guess I take it for granted that every person everywhere has that actual right. I meant more that it’s not An Issue, like it is in the States. Thanks for the clarification!
Jul 02, 2015 @ 15:12:51
This looks great for the kids, help them think differently when faced with an emergency and not panic. So sad about the policeman. Thanks for sharing his story.
Jul 03, 2015 @ 18:37:19
I asked Isis if they did any fire emergency drills at school this year, and she started describing something else – apparently a drill for what to do in the event that a gunman enters the school, which unfortunately seems more common than fires or earthquakes are in Canada.
Jul 03, 2015 @ 20:59:56
yikes. I’d rather natural disasters.
Oct 22, 2015 @ 21:52:44
Oh goodness! For a second I thought you meant the group Isis….oh nevermind. I’m sure you’ve had enough of that….
But yes, the reality of fatal shootings feels closer to home than ever before. I’m sad that our children have to worry about such things.
Oct 22, 2015 @ 21:54:29
Naomi, what a different world! I’m kind of intrigued by the idea of civil defence as practiced by the swiss…i.e. weapons in every home and mandatory training. I get the impression that it has more to do with the psychology of the Swiss than a special system.
Oct 23, 2015 @ 19:47:02
Slovakia had mandatory military service for men until 8ish(?) years ago. Michal was in it, and I hadn’t really heard stories until recently, when I was reminded of how different worlds we grew up in. Maybe I’ll get enough info from him to make it a post.