Social Emergency Response Volunteer (SERV) Programme

Click here for List of SERV Master Trainers

  1. SERV Scale up 2019
  2. Curriculum Update
  3. First Medical Responders Course Modules
  4. Some Glimpses of work done by our Red Cross Volunteers
  5. Household water treatment manual
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     Cyclone Fani - Odisha May 2019First Medical Responders programme was piloted in 2011 in the State of Uttarakhand and later extended to 18 most disaster-prone districts of India. The name of the programme was changed from First Medical Responders (FMR) to Social & Emergency Response Volunteers (SERV). Currently, it has presence in the following states: Andaman and Nicobar, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Manipur, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. The SERVs have been able to demonstrate their volunteering services in the recent disasters in Uttarakhand floods, J&K floods, Odisha cyclone Phailin, Tamil Nadu floods, Kerala floods and several other interventions. The volunteers worked closely with the local administration to provide search and rescue services and also distributed relief material and provided shelter to the people affected by the disasters.

    India is one of the highly prone nations which is vulnerable to almost all types of disasters. There is a paradigm shift all over the world including India, from response centric approach to a holistic approach with focus on prevention, mitigation and preparedness. It is not possible to prevent all disasters, but it is certainly possible to undertake preventive measures and prepare the community to mitigate the impact disasters. IRCS has undertaken a series of measures to achieve its objectives. There are a number of projects and programmes which are being implemented through various state and district branches. These projects and programmes are either funded by national headquarters or by other donors. However, the size and scale of these programmes are limited. Some of these programmes are going on for quite some time and have established their usefulness. Therefore, in order to build resilience in the community and to make an impact it is felt that while the existing programmes may continue. IRCS NHQ should focus on one project and implement it in a big way.

    It is in this context that SERV is proposed to be implemented in all the state branches in a big way. SERV is an important initiative in many different ways. This programme ensures direct linkages of IRCS with the communities as the volunteers are selected from their own communities. The volunteers trained from within the community are available to provide immediate support in golden hours till the formal response agencies reach. This has been evident during various disasters/emergencies in recent past where SERVs were able to demonstrate their usefulness. Programme also helps in strengthening relations with the local government departments and other stakeholders.

Concept of SERV:

    The concept of SERV is premised upon the principles of Community-Based Disaster Risk Reduction (CBDRR). It recognizes that:

1.    Communities understands their problems and opportunities than anyone else,
2.    Community is more interested to understand their problems than anyone else,
3.    Community is the key stakeholder for development of the country, hence it has to participate for their own development,
4.    Local communities are capable of initiating and sustaining their own community development.

To contribute to this aim, SERV volunteers will:

1.    Provide immediate relief and response to the affected communities before additional support from the government and other agencies arrives,
2.    Reduce vulnerabilities of the communities by training the communities on first-aid, hygiene promotion, etc.,
3.    Conduct vulnerability and capacity assessment of their own communities,
4.    Support any other identified social issues that contribute to the development of the communities.

    It is envisaged that the SERVs will be trained as per prescribed modules pertaining to deliver the following:

  • Act as First Responders in times of emergencies, (participate in providing effective humanitarian services to affected population to prevent and alleviate their sufferings on behalf of the IRCS)
  • Sensitize the community to make them more resilient to disasters to which the community is vulnerable.
  • Facilitate linkages between the community and the Government programmes.

SERV Scale up 2019

It is proposed to build communities’ resilience through upscaling of SERV on pan India basis. The programme is to be funded by NHQ and state branches in the ratio of 80:20 to target training of at least 1000 volunteers in each District through following approach:

  1. Focus on Youth Red Cross volunteers through enrollment in colleges as SERV.
  2. The college premises may be used as venue for YRCs (college students to be offered tea and snacks).
  3. Certification by the State Branches.
  4. The training can be divided into first half/second half covering the curricula as per the convenience and attendance of students in college.
  5. Every State should have at least 01 Master Trainer.
  6. Existing Master Trainers to create Master Trainers in neighboring States. For this, the training of Master Trainers proposed zone wise - North East (Assam), East (West Bengal), West (Gujarat), North (Uttarakhand) and South (Tamil Nadu).
  7. Each Master Trainer will organize one or more training for Instructors in his/ her State.
  8. Each District to have SERV instructors.
  9. Database of SERV volunteers to be created and maintained at District, State and National Headquarter level. WhatsApp groups to respond to emergencies.
  10. First Aid Kit can be given to communities.
  11. Format of the certificate to be shared with states but RC volunteers to be part of mock drills in states with the administration.

Curriculum Update

  1. Master Trainers ToT with 04 days of First Aid Training and 02 days of Disaster concepts [Revised]
  2. Instructors with 03 days of First Aid training and 02 days of DM Concepts [Revised]
  3. Volunteers' training with 02 days of First Aid and 01 Day of DM Concepts
    1. Standard First Aid Training Programme - 16 Hours – Course Content-Version April 2019
    2. SERV–3 days Volunteers' training Curriculum
  4. Indian First Aid Manual - 2016 (7th edition)


First Medical Responders Course Modules


Module one    :    Introductory Module
1.    Introduction to the Concept of First Medical Responders
2.    Objective of the training program
3.    Pre and Post test questionnaire; Why and How?
4.    RCRC movement and relevance of FMR in the movement

Module two    :    Emergency First Aid
1.    Principles and Practices of First Aid
2.    Assessment in First Aid
3.    Structure and Function of body
4.    Basic life support (resuscitation and CPR)
5.    First aid in emergencies
6.    First aid kit and use of materials
7.    Triage
8.    Safe handling and transportation of patients

Module three     :    Public Health in Emergencies
1.    Introduction to Public Health in Emergencies
2.    Communicable diseases in emergencies/epidemic control
a.    Vector borne diseases
b.    Water borne diseases
c.    Air borne diseases
d.    STI including HIV and other sexual and reproductive health issues
3.    Emergency health assessment – What it is, data collection
4.    Food security and nutrition in emergencies
5.    Health in recovery programming

Module four    :    Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion
1.    Emergency Water Supply
a.    Introduction to Water Supply
b.    Water Supply Components
c.    WATSAN emergency response Tool
2.    Household Water Treatment
a.    Why Household Water Treatment and Safe Storage?
b.    Methods of Water Treatment
c.    Safe Storage
d.    Training
e.    Follow up Training
3.    Emergency Sanitation
a.    Excreta Disposal
b.    Solid Waste Management
c.    Waste water management (drainage)
d.    Vector Control
4.    Hygiene promotion in emergency
a.    Why do we need hygiene promotion?
b.    Selection and distribution of Hygiene kits
c.    How do we do hygiene promotion in emergency?
d.    Hygiene promotion box

Module five     :    Psychosocial support

1.    Introduction to Psychosocial support in RCRC Movement
a.    Introduction to Psychosocial support
b.    What is psychosocial support (the definition)?
c.    What is psychosocial well being?
d.    Contextualization of services
e.    Why are psychosocial services needed?
2.    Basics of providing psychosocial support services
a.    Understand the psychological needs people may have during an emergency
b.    Identification of the affected population in need of psychosocial support services
c.    Providing services as per the needs of the people (Assessment)
3.    Providing psychosocial support by the FMR during the immediate phase
4.    Community based psychosocial support
5.    Psychological First Aid and Supportive Communication
6.    Essential things to keep in mind while providing Psychosocial support in a community
a.    Who can provide psychosocial support services
b.    Helping the helper (essentials for the FMR providing psychosocial support services)
7.    Dos and don’t for volunteers providing psychosocial support services  

Module six    :    Restoring Family Links
1.    Restoring Family Links
a.    Introduction to terms like Restoring Family Links, Tracing and Family News Services
b.    What is RFL?
c.    RFL project in India
d.    What is the need of RFL in disasters?
2.    RFL experience from the field
a.    Example of Leh cloud burst/Sikkim earth quake
b.    Lessons learned from the Field
3.    Planning RFL activity
a.    Preparation for RFL
b.    Discussion on plan

Module seven    :    Management of Dead bodies
1.    Introduction and Conceptual understanding
2.    What is the need for dead bodies’ management?
3.    What formats are to be completed as part of dead bodies’ management?
4.    Experience sharing from the field

Module eight    :    Crisis Management
1.    The basics of Crisis Management
a.    The concept of crisis
b.    The concept of Hazard
c.    The concept of Vulnerability
d.    The concept of Disaster
e.    The concept of Risk
f.    The concept of Capacity
g.    The concept of Mitigating Impact
h.    Relation between different concept in a disaster situation
2.    Different Crisis situation and how to respond to different Crisis situations
a.    Earthquake
b.    Floods
c.    Flash-floods
d.    Land Slide
e.    Tsunami
f.    Fire Accidents
g.    Conflict
h.    Mass Casualty
i.    Disease Outbreak
3.    Assessment in emergencies
a.    Understanding Needs Assessment
b.    Types of Needs Assessment and Assessment Process
c.    Participatory Needs Assessment Tools
4.    Roles, Responsibilities and Management of CFMR
5.    Coordination mechanisms

Module nine    :    Planning, Monitoring and Reporting & Volunteer Management
1.    Basics of planning
2.    Contingency Planning
3.    Basics of Monitoring
4.    Monitoring by FMR
5.    What to monitor in a crisis situation
6.    Why there is a need for monitoring and usage of data?
7.    What is reporting and methods of reporting?
8.    The basics of Volunteer Management in an Emergency