Be Prepared for an Emergency: At School
Safety at school during emergencies is vital and a good start is a sound school Emergency Preparedness Plan.
Parents who entrust the care of their children to others want the reassurance that those caring for and educating their children will do all they can to keep their children safe, particularly when those children are very young.
Experience around the world has shown that where organisations are aware of the risks around them and plan their response, then injuries, damage and subsequent trauma are significantly reduced.
For School Administrators
The purpose of the planning process is therefore to ensure that the safety of students and staff is maintained as far as possible in any emergency incident.
Some Suggested Planning Steps:
- Form a focus group to develop plan and oversee implementation.
- Develop a site map.
- Identify and assess hazard impacts - could they affect students and staff.
- Plan for the consequences of hazards - identify safe areas, evacuation and potential damage.
- Plan should identify who is responsible for doing what and when.
- Recovery - identify long term requirements.
- Review your plan and advice parents/caregivers and the local community.
The Ministry of Education has produced an Emergency Management Plan template and other useful information on emergency management planning for schools.
As each school has unique circumstances it is strongly recommended that any resultant plan be owned and implemented by the school, making reference to its specific needs.
The Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management's Get Ready Get Thru website is also a useful resource.
For Students and Teachers
The Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management has an excellent teaching and learning resource called:
For Early Childhood Education Services (ECE)
The Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management and the Ministry of Education have jointly developed the ECE Services Emergency Planning Guidelines to help ECE services develop emergency plans and put them into practice.
"Turtle Safe" is an educational DVD developed specifically to teach preschool children what to do if they are inside or outdoors when an earthquake occurs. We encourage teachers to hold several practice drills with the children so they are familiar with the drill.
For Parents and Caregivers
If you have children at school or an early childhood centre, ensure that part of your families emergency management plan includes arranging for somebody to collect the children in case you are unable to. You need to identify more than one person, and will need to advise the school or early childhood centre of their names. Remember that the school or early childhood centre can't release children to people whose details are not supplied.