Disaster Management Training for Students

Children in selected schools in Trivandrum will soon be trained to handle emergency situations like natural disasters and accidents, under a project launched by the departments of revenue and education.

The School Safety Project will equip students with basic lessons in tackling a fire outbreak, an accident in a chemical laboratory, a building collapse or even a bomb threat or hostage crisis.

It is aimed at making schools self-sufficient, relying on their own resources to protect and care for the students until external assistance is available.

The project involves setting up safety clubs in schools, creating emergency preparedness and response plans, constitution of disaster management teams and preparing school safety literature. The pilot project will cover 50 schools in the district.

Designed to place school safety on the education agenda and promote awareness on disaster management, the project is part of a nation-wide program initiated by the Government of India and UNDP.

As many as 200 schools in the hazard-prone districts of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Alappuzha and Ernakulam constitute the target group.

In the first stage of the program, designated teachers will be imparted training in disaster management and preparation of response plan. This will be followed by awareness classes on preparing a disaster management plan.

The school safety plan essentially involves an assessment of the vulnerability of structural elements like school buildings, staircases and compound walls and non-structural elements like chemistry laboratories, trees, power lines and railway tracks in the neighbourhood.

It includes identification of hazards like natural disasters and fire accidents, exposure to chemicals, falling accidents, civil disturbance, bomb threat and hostage crisis.

The program involves the formation of school disaster management committees and separate emergency response teams trained in first aid, search and rescue and traffic safety.

The plan also proposes conduct of regular mock exercises, emergency evacuation and fire drills.

A one-day training program was conducted in each of the four districts identified for the pilot project.

Revenue Minister K.P. Rajendran launched the State-wide project at a function held at the Central Stadium. Education Minister M.A. Baby inaugurated the School Safety Club and received a cheque of Rupee 1.75 crore from the Revenue Minister for implementing the program.

Mr. Rajendran also released a booklet containing guidelines for the club. A Disaster Management Authority logo was also released on the occasion.

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