Disaster Volunteer Training on the Use of PREPARED Tool in Aceh

Banda Aceh – As one of the efforts to increase community preparedness for disasters, the Faculty of Psychology of Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) collaborated with the Tsunami Disaster Mitigation Research Center of Universitas Syiah Kuala (TDMRC-USK) and the Poltekkes Kemenkes Mamuju in organizing training for disaster volunteers at the TDMRC-USK hall, on Monday, the 23th of March 2023.

This activity discussed the use of a psychological disaster preparedness tool in the context of Indonesian society called PREPARED. This training is one of the activities in the PREPARED (Psychological Preparedness of At-Risk Communities towards Disaster) project funded by the Australian Government through the Alumni Grant Scheme (AGS).

The purpose of this activity was to introduce the use of PREPARED Tool by inviting 30 volunteers from various institutions consisting of representatives from Badan Penanggulangan Bencana Daerah Banda Aceh City (BPBD), Fasilitas Tangguh Bencana-TDMRC (FASTANA-TDMRC), International Center for Aceh and Indian Ocean Studies (ICAIOS), and Pusat Riset Imu Sosial dan Budaya (PRISB), and student volunteers.

The PREPARED Tools training was opened by the Head of the Disaster Mitigation Unit (TDMRC), Prof. Syamsidik, who expressed his appreciation and support for this research collaboration and volunteer capacity building in Banda Aceh.

“Disasters must be seen from various dimensions, cross-sectoral and cross-disciplinary, namely by using an interactional perspective,” Syamsidik said in his speech.

The full-day training was led by the project coordinator for the Banda Aceh region, Rizanna Rosemary, who started the training by explaining the objectives and expectations of the training.

Rizanna, who was also one of the training facilitators, mentioned that psychological aspects have a tendency to affect the readiness of individuals when a disaster occurs.

“Psychological recovery requires a very long process, so if a person has psychological preparedness, he tends to be better prepared to face disasters in the future,” said the lecturer of Health Communication in the Communication Science Study Program, FISIP USK.

Meanwhile, Marty Mawarpury, Psychologist as a lecturer in USK’s Psychology Study Program and training facilitator, said that this is an effort to equip disaster volunteers in paying attention to psychology.

“This training is one of the provisions for disaster volunteers to pay attention to psychological aspects in disaster preparedness efforts. So far, disaster preparedness efforts have focused on physical preparedness only, but the mental readiness of our community in facing disasters is equally important,” he said.

Complementing Marty Mawarpury’s material, Alfi Ahman added the definition and concept of disaster preparedness in general. The presentation of material by the three facilitators was followed by interesting discussions from the training participants.

The PREPARED project originated from the experience of many people who panic, fear and anxiety when a disaster occurs. After a series of literature reviews, it was found that there are 15 factors that are aspects of the psychological disaster preparedness of Indonesian society.

These findings were then used to develop a psychological preparedness measurement tool, the PREPARED Tool. This tool was then tested in three districts/cities, namely Banda Aceh City, Sleman District, and Mamuju District.

The pilot test reached 704 respondents in the three regions, including respondents categorized as vulnerable groups. The trial also provided an initial picture of the community’s psychological preparedness for disasters in the three regions.

Based on the results of the initial research conducted where the psychological preparedness of the community still tends to be moderate, training for volunteers in these three areas is important so that they get an understanding of what psychological preparedness is and an understanding of how to use the PREPARED tool to measure community psychological preparedness for disasters.

The one-day training provided an understanding of the importance of disaster preparedness, the psychological aspects that play a role in improving disaster preparedness efforts, and how to use the PREPARED Tool that has been developed by the research team.

In this training, volunteers were also invited to practice the use of PREPARED Tool to the community around the TDMRC environment. Maulana, one of the training participants who is also a representative of FASTANA-TDMRC said that this training provided a new understanding of disaster preparedness seen from the psychological aspect.

This training with the PREPARED Tool is a reflection of how his level of preparedness is as a volunteer who helps the community in the event of a disaster. The PREPARED Tool that has been developed is currently in the initial development or piloting stage.

Rizanna hopes that in the future, this tool can continue to be developed and used by the wider community in the process of preparing their preparedness for disasters, especially at the individual level.