Sunday 6 October 2013

Emergency Planning and Procedures - Listen and Learn

It was a very thorough review of Emergency Planning and Procedures, complete with some extreme weather and a few shakes to add a bit of realism.

We’re grateful have so many schools that participate in reviews and give us feedback, especially the ones that have tested these procedures in various emergency situations over the last few years. They confirm that the procedures are robust and work well in emergency situations. Their feedback about what worked well, and their suggestions for additional content, are absolutely invaluable and of benefit to every school in our community. The overwhelming message from these schools is that they coped by being prepared. They had thought about their emergency planning, and practised evacuations. Their emergency kits were up to date, and accessible. Everyone knew what to do, where to go, and what to take.

Which made it easier for them to cope with the reality of the actual emergency.

Plans are the framework for action on the day and afterwards, but can’t prepare you for the shaking, the noise, the dust, the fear, the sights, the shock, and the surreality of the experience. Plans cannot cover every single contingency; many emergencies demand a certain amount of thinking on your feet, and sudden decision making.

Schools that have been through emergencies have much to share in the way of practical tips and advice relating to the planning, the response, and the aftermath of an emergency. We are very thankful to our SchoolDocs schools for sharing their experiences. As a result of the feedback from the review, we have made a number of changes and additions to this section (which you can see in the Release Notes).

If you haven’t already…

Read this excellent publication: (Not just the summary, read the whole thing, it won’t take long.) It’s, as the name suggests, Stories of Resilience and Innovation in Schools and Early Childhood Services from the earthquakes of 2010-2012. It’s thought provoking and a good place to start for a discussion or consideration of your school specific emergency procedures.

Check that your plans are up to date and that everyone knows about them. Don’t take this for granted. Make sure you have the latest plans and procedures printed out and available.

Develop a reverse evacuation plan, and, if appropriate, a tsunami plan before you need them. We have guidelines for these procedures on the Demo site.