Schools to Be Tested for Urban Resilience

Schools to Be Tested for Urban ResilienceSchools to Be Tested for Urban Resilience

Tehran’s Disaster Management and Mitigation Department is spearheading a plan to increase urban resilience in primary and high schools in the capital in cooperation with Tehran Municipality and the Education Ministry.

Urban resilience is the capability to prepare for, respond to and recover from multi-hazard threats with minimum damage to public safety and health, the economy and security of a given urban area.

“Students spend a great part of their day in schools believing they’re safe, risk-free environments. School needs to be a place where parents leave children with peace of mind and with teachers they can fully trust,” department head Ahmad Sadeqi told ISNA.

The plan dubbed ‘Crisis-Ready School’ is to start this school year (September 23) and will train over 1.1 million students and their families as well as over 60,000 school teachers and staff in relief operations.

“A crisis-ready school is one where environmental risks are reduced to a minimum and is resilient enough to bounce back in the shortest possible time,” he said, stressing that 1,000 schools will be upgraded with “a state of emergency” system by the end of the current Iranian year (March 20, 2016).

The plan will be implemented at three levels and in 12 stages. Training personnel and creating a crisis management group in each school would mark the initial step.

Taking stock of the extensive coordination measures among various executive organizations to work out and implement the plan, Sadeqi said directors of school crisis management groups will go through a 14-hour training program. They will be responsible for its strategic execution in schools and tasked with measures to reduce risk factors before, during, and after a crisis.

“The first such program was held in the summer for 240 school representatives and the second will be in October.”

Subsequently, the entire school staff (including teachers, administrative personnel and janitors) will undergo training in an 18-hour workshop.

Effective communication is the key to disaster response. Having trained staff in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and first aid can help a school deal with the situation until emergency personnel arrive.

Raising collective awareness on safety issues and promoting the culture of security preparedness among the people, as well as establishing and training emergency response teams will be undertaken this year.

At the next level, all schools will be evaluated based on improvised checklists on safety standards, and will be assigned a color corresponding to their crisis-readiness.

The assessments will be done in cooperation with crisis management groups and experts from Iran’s Organization of Fire and Safety Services with a focus on high-disaster incidents.

Health databank for all students and regular drills are also on the agenda.

In the final stage, training of students and their families through educational packages and camps in relief operations will be provided. Once the plan is fully executed, the best schools will receive a medal and be given the color ‘green’ for the most resilient and crisis-ready school.