Emergency planning for school safety


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Emergency planning for school safety

  1. 1. Making Schools Safe Against Disaster David Alexander University College London
  2. 2. Analysis • registered • archived • forgotten • ignored Vulnerability maintained - • utilised • adopted • learned Disaster risk reduced + Lessons Past events The process of disaster risk reduction (DRR)
  3. 3. ResilienceResistance Risk Susceptibility Physical (including natural, built, technological) Social (including cultural, political, economic Environment Attributes Source: McEntire 2001 LiabilitiesCapabilities VULNERABILITY
  4. 4. Organisational systems: management Social systems: behaviour Natural systems: function Technical systems: malfunction VulnerabilityHazard Resilience Political systems: decisions
  5. 5. Recovery and reconstruction Mitigation and resilience Preparation and mobilisation Emergency intervention Quiescence Crisis The disaster cycle
  6. 6. Disaster goes to school
  7. 7. [Courtesy of Prof. Omar Cardona]
  8. 8. This is a school!
  9. 9. This is another!
  10. 10. The loss of young, innocent lives touches a common thread of sentiment in people who otherwise have no connection with the event. These events elicit massive outpourings of public sympathy but are symptomatic of failure to provide a safe environment for children's education. School disasters:
  11. 11. • natural disasters: floods, landslides, tornadoes, storms, earthquakes • shootings, hostage-takings, other acts of terrorism • fires, structural collapses. The problem:-
  12. 12. In the 2003 Boumerdes, Algeria, earthquake 103 schools collapsed 753 were seriously damaged and 2160 were damaged or otherwise affected.
  13. 13. In the Bingöl earthquake of 1-5-2003 in Turkey (0334 hrs, mag. 6.8, duration 17 secs): • 3 school buildings totally collapsed • 10 schools were badly damaged • 12 schools were moderately damaged • 3 schools were lightly damaged • 84 boys died while sleeping in a school dormitory that collapsed (=50% of overall death toll).
  14. 14. Repetitive seismic risk: in Turkey, eight million children attend 34,000 schools that are vulnerable to seismic damage. Some of the most seismic countries have some of the youngest populations (e.g. Iraq, Afghanistan, Indonesia).
  15. 15. Responsibilities for ensuring safety are commonly split between school staffs, education authorities, municipal engineers and government departments. It is remarkable how unsophisticated school emergency preparedness usually is: would other organisations of similar complexity permit such laxity?
  16. 16. If the 1994 Northridge, California, earthquake had occurred during school time, it would have been necessary to send 6500 children home, but many of them would not have found parents there.
  17. 17. • children have a full moral right to education and safety at school. • about one billion children of school age live in seismically active countries • perhaps one third go to seismically unsafe schools (and one seventh have no schools to attend at all) The global situation:-
  18. 18. Estimate of seismic death tolls in schools: • over the next decade • for the 20 most seismic countries • events of MMI=VIII or greater • children at school for 6-23% of the year (105-250 days) • child deaths in collapsed schools estimated at 4800 per decade. • median 100 children per school • 15-30 earthquakes per year cause schools to collapse, 40% mortality rate
  19. 19. Reality: in the Kashmir earthquake of 2005 10,000 schools collapsed 17,000 children died in them.
  20. 20. School safety: some answers to the problem
  22. 22. Risk analysis Risk assessment Risk communication KnowledgePerception Institutional learning Adaptation Disaster threat Risk management
  23. 23. The arguments for school safety: • morality and human rights • duty of care to children (in loco parentis) • cost-effectiveness • the need to provide education • multiple functions of schools in the community: schools as community centres or shelter for homeless survivors.
  24. 24. • physical hazards (structural & fitments) • behavioural hazards (what people do in a crisis) • external hazards that affect the building (such as floods, explosions, earth tremors, landslides, subsidence) • internal hazards that affect ability to adopt self-protective behaviour, e.g. fire or collapse of ceilings. Hazards to schools can be divided into:-
  25. 25. • there is no simple rule for self- protective behaviour in school buildings. • competitive behaviour among childred engendered by panic-induced flight has been reported during earthquakes in China, Mexico and Egypt • when buildings collapse, children and teachers are very efficiently crushed under flimsy desks. Behavioural factors:-
  26. 26. Evacuation remains the single most effective strategy for avoiding danger, but only if it can be completed in conditions of relative safety—i.e. rarely during the main impact or crisis period, when there may be: • distortion of doorways • overturning or collapse of fittings, fixtures and furniture • severed power lines in puddles outside. • façade collapse
  27. 27. • the building should not merely give shelter but also provide refuge • procedures for vacating schools during emergencies should lead the occupants progressively further away from danger.
  28. 28. In loco parentis Hazards of evacuation to refuge site Convergencereaction ofparents Convergence reaction of emergency services Parkingand trafficflow? Hazard impact to school Hazards of evacuation to assembly area Information flow? School
  29. 29. Sharing the burden and developing a sense of commitment: • teachers have a highly variable level of interest in emergency planning • children are an effective channel for getting hazard and risk info to families • children also adapt remarkably well to unfamiliar situations • education in risk management is needed • generally, improved communication is needed regarding school safety.
  30. 30. The destruction of 190 unreinforced masonry schools in the Long Beach, California, earthquake of 10-3-1933 (M=6.2) led to the Field Act for the engineering seismic safety of school buildings, which was passed exactly one month after the earthquake. The importance of legislation
  31. 31. Procedures for designing school evacuation plans
  32. 32. Emergency planning is not rocket science...
  33. 33. ...it's a matter of common sense...
  34. 34. ...and organisation!
  35. 35. Major event management Incident management Population (community) protection Hazard forecasting, monitoring, etc. Plans, procedures, protocols Human and material resources
  36. 36. (1) Assemble materials • local maps • plan of school • describe school (2) Describe setting of school • surrounding area • location of nearest emergency services.
  37. 37. (3) Identify and assess local hazards • possible impacts on school (4) Response scenarios • evacuation routes, with alternatives • assembly points, their safety, ease of access • refuges (churches, community centres, etc.) and routes to them.
  38. 38. (5) Procedures • teachers assemble students at primary assembly point, take attendance • monitors conduct a sweep of the buildings • evacuation option chosen and implemented • students taken to secondary assembly point (6) Which emergency services, in what order, from where, and how soon?.
  39. 39. (7) Teachers and head to know who incident commander is and what emergency forces are present or on their way (8) Procedures used to choose evacuation options (9) Conduct evacuation drills • permanent signs (coloured arrows) to exits.
  40. 40. (10) Periodic surveys of access to exits • remove obstacles (11) Study means of avoiding congestion (12) Avoid gymnasia or structures with roofs that could collapse during an impact.
  41. 41. (13) Evaluate interior hazards (14) Procedure for posting and disseminating disaster plans • ensure that all personnel have read, understood and remembered • share plans with town officials.
  42. 42. (15) Are all exits safe for use in all cases? (16) Plan role of school's first-aid officer (17) Can school be re-entered after impact? • designate rooms for first aid.
  43. 43. (18) Procedure for contacting parents and safely returning students to them if school closes (19) On-site and off-site liability custodial liability (in loco parentis) (20) Acquaint parents with the school's evacuation plans and inform them of where their offspring can be picked up under particular evacuation situations.
  44. 44. Conclusions
  45. 45. • like hospitals, schools are critical facilities of great strategic importance in disaster situations • the extent of the risk to them is not fully appreciated by decision makers • community involvement can change risk situations for the better • the solutions are multi-faceted • high-priority global security programmes are required, under UN auspices.
  46. 46. Usage and state of maintenance of buildings change over time but aggregate vulnerability appears to remain frustratingly constant.
  47. 47. No school should be without a properly tested emergency plan. • hazard investigations, school design and the observation of building codes • school construction, maintenance and improvement • management and use of schools • evacuation and the care of children Common standards are needed for:-
  48. 48. Personal or private interestsPublic interest Cultural acceptability LESSONS ...LEARNED? Sustainable lessons Uncertainty, unpredictability LESSONS ...LEARNED? Incentives to learn
  49. 49. david.alexander@ucl.ac.uk www.slideshare.net/dealexander www.emergency-planning.blogspot.com