Disaster management plan in schools: A wake-up call

October 15, 2020 9:31 AM

Sometimes it is found that schools are doing mock drills even more than 4 times in a year. But see drill is nothing but a practice of a vetted plan.

SDMP will help them to reduce the disaster risk to some extent.

By Nakul Kr. Tarun

As we are aware, among the Indian states, Delhi is in seismic zone IV and vulnerable to earthquake VII-VIII on Richter scale. Delhi is exposed to various risks due to the soil, which is liable to liquefaction, very high population density, sub-standard habitat, disproportionate occupancy rate, poor design and construction qualities and lack of community preparedness and adequate response. Covid 2019 has already tested our preparedness. Therefore, the Govt of NCT-Delhi taken mitigative measures and asked all schools to prepare their own School Disaster Management Plan in line with the guideline issued by NDMA and submit a copy of same to respective DDMA.

The intent of the letter is to make schools a safe place for their students and staff. Most people understand installing a CCTV camera and having few security guards make your school safe. But that is not the case. What if an earthquake strikes your school? What if a fire accident takes place in school? To make school 360-degree safe schools required to have a Home to Home School Safety Mechanism. That is why govt. is pushing schools to make an SDMP and translate it on the ground.

School Disaster management plan should contain the following element: –

  1. Rapid Visual Assessment (RVA) of the school building and recommendation for correction if any change required
  2. Hazard identification (if any) in the school compound and recommendation to mitigate the effect
  3. Identification of accident-prone area and recommendation to reduce the risk
  4. Preparation of self-glow school evacuation map block-wise- floor wise.
  5. Composition of the different team and task force to follow the compliance regarding Disaster Management
  6. SOPs for different teams and task forces
  7. Mock drill and training calendar.
  8. Signature of the qualified Disaster Management expert.

I am sorry to say that some schools are in such a depilated state and at such location that even sunlight is a problem. Don’t know how disaster responses will reach to these schools. But This SDMP will help them to reduce the disaster risk to some extent. Students and staff will know risks and practice to evacuation in case of emergency. So, we all should support Delhi govt in development of SDM at every school. As parents, we should ask by writing in the diary of our children that school to have their SDMP. As RWA we should push schools of our vicinity to development of SDMP. The Delhi government has many other Emergency Support Functionaries (ESFs) like Delhi Fire Services, Health Department, Delhi Jal Board etc. every school require NOC/ certificate from these ESFs every year or in some cases after three years. These ESFs should not give NOC until they do not produce a duly signed SDMP. Therefore, we should push from all side to achieve what Delhi Govt. intends. Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) is a tool in our hands which includes all the phases of pre-disaster i.e. prevention, mitigation and preparedness and thereby enhances the possibility of less impact, fewer losses and better chances of building back better the damaged systems. This is also in PM 10-point agenda on DRR.

Sometimes it is found that schools are doing mock drills even more than 4 times in a year. But see drill is nothing but a practice of a vetted plan. So first have a SDMP and then translate it on the ground and organize a mock drill to achieve the concept of a safe school.

(The author is a Disaster Management Expert. Views expressed are personal.)

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