CDEMA Earthquake Readiness - Education Policy Makers
Education Policy Makers

Additional ways to Reduce Earthquake Damage and Casualties 

Policy makers within the national education system are urged to conduct appropriate research to determine if there are gaps in the education sector related to disaster/emergency preparedness in general and earthquake preparedness in particular. If gaps are identified, a programme should be established to ensure all education establishments have disaster/emergency programmes and that these properly reflect earthquake preparedness.

In addition, education policy makers should also:

  • Undertake a programme to improve structural resiliency of education facilities.

  • Strengthen education sector legislation and policy to better address emergency management.

  • Develop curriculum on Disaster Risk Reduction and Emergency Response for schools.

  • Conduct seminars for teachers in school earthquake safety.

  • Encourage students to establish and run Earthquake Safety Clubs in their schools.

  • Develop a Comprehensive Disaster/Emergency Preparedness Programme that includes earthquake preparedness.

  • Establish and maintain an earthquake safety program in every school district, in collaboration with the NDO. To organize this program, the Ministry of Education should form Earthquake Safety Committees to cover appropriate geographic areas or districts. Members could include:

    • NDO District Office

    • School principals

    • District maintenance staff

    • Teachers

    • Parents (PAC)

    • Trustees

    • Senior grade students
  • The committees may also recruit experts from the community, either as committee members or as resource persons; for example:
    • Local fire

    • Police and emergency officials

    • Red Cross or St. John's Ambulance personnel

    • Geologists

    • Structural engineers

    • Geophysicists

    • Doctors

    • Municipal building inspectors

    • Communications experts, such as local radio or newspaper people, and hand radio operators.

back to top

  • The first task for each committee should be to define its main objectives; for example:
    • Development of school information and education campaigns

    • Implementation of earthquake drills

    • Introduction of staff training programs

    • Identification and correction of hazards

    • Preparation of local response plan

    • Preparation of local communications plan.

Guidelines on how to achieve these objectives are contained in the guidebook for schools administrations. After having defined its objectives, the district committee may delegate tasks to individual school principals or district staff.

 

  • Periodically, the district committees and principals should evaluate the effectiveness of their earthquake drills. The following checklist may be used both for evaluation and in the initial planning of the drills:

    • Have complete 'quake-safe' action drills been issued to all concerned?

    • Are all students and staff familiar with the "take cover" procedure?

    • Have students and teachers demonstrated their ability to take cover immediately?

    • Do students know what to do in areas without shelter?

    • Do students stay quiet during drills?

    • Are teachers able to maintain relative calm and reassure their students?

    • Do students and teachers know and understand evacuation procedures?

    • Does everyone know their safe evacuation assembly area?

    • Do teachers remember to take their class roster and evacuation checklists to the assembly area after evacuation?

    • Have other staff members practiced their roles during earthquake drills?

    • Have emergency variations been practiced (e.g., exits blocked, aftershocks occurring, etc.)?

    • Have students had ample opportunity to discuss their fears and concerns about earthquakes, including how they can help each other?

    • Have parents been informed about the earthquake drills?

    • Have the drills been extended into the family and home?

  • Within two hours after a major earthquake, most parents will come to collect their children. However, some parents may be unable to reach the school, either because of transportation difficulties or because they are casualties themselves. Obviously, young children must not be released to go home alone. General care and shelter guidelines should be included in a district response plan, and the school plan should be consistent with these.
  • To improve the quality of the potential response of staff, teachers, and students following an earthquake the Ministry of Education Disaster Committee should:
    • Keep an up-to-date list of teachers and staff members trained in first aid or CPR

    • Provide regular training and refresher courses in first aid or CPR by association with the local Red Cross organizations

    • Consider providing first aid training for students (this has wider benefits than just for earthquake response)

    • Consider training of staff and teachers in:

      • Fire detection and abatement

      • How and when to turn off utilities

      • Search and rescue techniques

      • Mental trauma alleviation

    back to top

    Checklist for Planning and Evaluating the Effectiveness of At-School Earthquake Drills

    (1)   Have complete 'quake-safe' action drills been issued to all concerned?

     

    (2)   Are all students and staff familiar with the "Drop, Cover and Hold On" procedure?

     

     (3)   Have students and teachers demonstrated their ability to Drop, Cover and Hold On
            immediately?

    (4)   Do students know what to do in areas without shelter?

     

    (5)   Do students stay quiet during drills?

     

    (6)   Are teachers able to maintain relative calm and reassure their students?

     

    (7)   Do students and teachers know and understand evacuation procedures?

     

    (8)   Does everyone know their safe evacuation assembly area?

     

    (9)   Do teachers remember to take their class roster and evacuation checklists to the
            assembly area after evacuation?

     

    (10) Have other staff members practiced their roles during earthquake drills?

     

    (11) Have emergency variations been practiced (e.g. exits blocked, aftershocks occurring,
            etc.)? 

     

    (12) Have students had ample opportunity to discuss their fears and concerns about
            earthquakes, including how they can help each other?

     

    (13) Have parents been informed about the earthquake drills?

     

    (14) Have the drills been extended into the family and home?

     

 
Share |
An earthquake happens somewhere in the world once every 30 seconds.