Experience around the world has shown that where people are aware of the risks around them and plan their response, then injuries, damage and subsequent trauma are significantly reduced.
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Schools need to educate students and prepare plans.
Check out the 'Action-Reaction' on this website for great education resources for teachers to educate their students about natural hazards and civil defence preparedness.
Children have a range of reactions and questions to information about disasters and hazards depending on their experience of events and their dispositions. The Ministry of Education has useful advice for caregivers.
The purpose of planning is to ensure that the whether you are running an Early Childhood Centre, a school, or a rest home, you can provide for the safety of students, patients, and staff as far as possible in any emergency incident.
You can refer to the national Early Childhood Education (ECE) Services Emergency Planning Guidance
Having a strong emergency plan in place ahead of time can enable a safe response to emergencies that arise as the result of natural hazards and other emergency situations. The Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management and the Ministry of Education have jointly developed this Best Practice Guide to help ECE services develop emergency plans and put them into practice.
What is an emergency incident and how to plan?
An emergency incident can be described as a hazardous event that threatens the safety of people or property. Incidents range in size, nature, intensity and duration. They encompass such things as:
- fires in school buildings or care facilities
- bomb threats
- chemical spills.
When preparing an emergency plan the following assumptions need to be considered:
- Schools, care facilities other organisations and individuals will need to look after themselves in the initial stages of an emergency.
- Emergency services may not be able to respond for some hours during the initial stages.
- Utilities such as water, electricity, communications and transport could be unavailable or inoperative.
- Some buildings may suffer moderate to severe damage.
- Pupils and staff injured during the emergency will need to be cared for within the school itself.
Some suggested planning steps:
- Putting things in context - details about your school, care facilities and its surrounds (including a site map).
- Hazard identification and assessment - what are the hazards that could affect the neighbourhood and your school?
- Planning for the consequences of hazards - evacuation, occupation and containment procedures.
- Who is responsible for doing what, when? - Staff action plan, what should you do in the initial stages?
- Recovery - identifying long term requirements.
- Reviewing your plan and advising parents/caregivers and the local community.
What about emergency supplies for classrooms?
After a disaster, schools have arrangements in place for parents to collect their children as soon as possible. But for some families this may not be possible, immediately, if parents and family members have been injured or are just unable to reach the school for any reason. Some schools in Central HB have adopted the following approach which CDEM in HB commends:
- Parents are asked at the beginning of the school year to send their child to school with a can or packet of something they like to eat for storage in the 'classroom emergency supply box'.
- Each item has the childs name written on it and is stored with the required utensils such as a can opener in the box for the school year.
- In the event of a disaster, most of the children will be collected by their parents, but for those uncollected they have emergency supplies at hand that can be used by their teacher or those assigned to care for them.
- At the end of the school year, the box of supplies can be raffled off. The funds raised can be used to replenish first aid supplies etc for the classroom.
- At the beginning of the next school year the system starts again and this way the classroom emergency supplies stay fresh & current each year.