Emergency assistance

In 2012, Belgian Red Cross-Flanders received 70 alerts for emergency assistance. Two of those alerts only required psychosocial support. Most alerts come from the ‘100’ emergency call centers. They ask Belgian Red Cross-Flanders via the ‘105’ dispatching center to have personnel and equipment on standby in the case of early warnings, or request an actual call-out.

The biggest incidents involved the evacuation of an apartment building in Hoboken and a nursing home in Ghent, following fires. We were on standby following the explosion of leftover stocks of ammunition at the Hechtel-Eksel military base and were called out in the wake of the Baltic Ace ship collision.

Regional distribution of alerts

The large number of alerts in Flemish Brabant is owing to the many early earning alerts issued for ‘aircraft in difficulty’ (Brussels Airport). These only rarely result in an actual alert.

Psychosocial support

Psychosocial as well as medical assistance is important in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. In 13 of the 70 alerts for emergency assistance, the services of the Social Intervention Service (SIS) were requested. In the case of two alerts, psychosocial support alone was requested.

SIS operates on the principles of safety/security, hope, peace of mind, cohesion and self-reliance. These inform its three core tasks of reception, information and support. SIS volunteers offer victims a place of sanctuary. They gather important information as quickly as possible about what has been and will be happening and people’s whereabouts. They also attend to urgent needs such as warm clothing and medicine and lend a sympathetic ear.

Requests for SIS interventions come from both external parties and the federal government, via the ‘112’ number and the Red Cross itself.

SIS volunteers provide assistance in a variety of crisis situations. The most significant of these in 2012 was the Sierre coach crash.

Related items:

Event first aid cover
Psychosocial support training
Assistance following Baltic Ace ship collision
Psychosocial support following Sierre coach crash

Alerts by type

Regional distribution of SIS alerts

SIS alerts by type