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Logs Interns have a practice run at Emergency Response

In the last week of February, Jake, Sarah, Cormac, Mary and Gurmeet (Logistics Skills Development Programme (LSDP) London-based staff) attended the Emergency Foundation Course in Oxfordshire. This Save the Children-run course is a five-day emergency simulation designed to give attendees a taste of what it is like responding to a real-life emergency. So instead of arriving in Oxfordshire, we set up our tents in “Sendonia”, a small island in the pacific which had just been hit by a cyclone.

Split into two teams, the 26 participants had to set up their base, assign roles on the ground and start talking to other organisations responding to those affected by ‘Cyclone Sheila’.

We log interns fell naturally into our loggie roles but were soon thrown out of our comfort zones when we were told that every day we would rotate roles. This dismay soon turned to appreciation when we realised that experiencing other roles within an NGO heightened our awareness of how different departments work together and what one department needs from another in order to function effectively.

As budding logisticians it was interesting being on the other side of the fence and being part of a department, whether it be programmes, finance or communications, which depends heavily on the logistical framework. It’s an experience we’ll take away and draw on when we’re in the field, being more able to respond effectively because we now appreciate where those requests are coming from.

The week definitely was an experience and the mentors really put us through our paces. There was a real emphasis on the believability of the situation – down to having to find a secure location in the middle of the night after our camp was threatened by local militia. Of course maybe we could have chosen better than the unlockable toilet block, but it was surprisingly comfortable, even at 2 in the morning!

All in all, an inspiring introduction to emergency response. Hopefully we will be ready when a real emergency strikes!

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