Thursday 23 October 2014

Mt Roskill Primary School knows the drill

A new advertising campaign highlights the importance for ECE services, schools, and communities to be prepared for an earthquake. KATE BLEASDALE spoke to the school featured in the campaign. An image from the new Civil Defence advertising campaign

Are you prepared for when salamis come rolling down the street? Some of the learners at Mt Roskill Primary School may still have some trouble pronouncing tsunami, but they know what to do in an emergency.
An advertising campaign released by Civil Defence late last month features learners explaining what an earthquake is and what to do if one occurs. While the explanation of what causes earthquakes (giant monsters stamping their feet), may be a little factually incorrect, the learners have no trouble when it comes to keeping themselves safe. The television advertisement shows the learners executing the Drop, Cover and Hold drill both in the classroom and outside.
The campaign aims to address any confusion about the right actions to take in an earthquake, and helps to promote New Zealand ShakeOut, happening on 26 September. The event has been created to help people and organisations be better prepared to ‘get thru’ an earthquake and practice how to protect themselves when one happens. At 9.26am on 26 September (9:26-26:9), participants will be encouraged to perform the Drop, Cover and Hold drill – the recommended action to take in an earthquake.
Mt Roskill Primary School principal, Bas Barriball, said their learners practice a “lockdown” drill for any emergency that may occur. Their school is located near an industrial area, so as well as natural disasters, they have to be prepared for any accidents that may occur nearby.
“Each term, we make sure we have an emergency procedural practice.”
Mt Roskill Primary School isn’t the only school on the campus, and Bas said they coordinate their emergency procedures so if a disaster should happen, all 4000 learners on-site are doing the same thing.
“We’re very much working together on everything around emergencies.”
They also try their best to get the safety message out beyond the learners to their families and the community. Following the launch of the Drop, Cover and Hold campaign on 28 June, each learner at the school received a special pack to take home. Included in the information was a list of items families would need in an emergency. Bas said it helps to spread information outside of the school.
“In our community, we have a lot of families with English as a second language and peopLearners at Mt Roskill Primary School demonstrate the Drop, Cover and Hold drill at the campaign launch.le who are new to the country.”
As well as practising emergency drills, awareness of natural disasters is highlighted through different curriculum activities and recent events. Some of the year groups at the school study Auckland’s volcanic field and explore the different impacts if one of the volcanoes erupted. There was also a focus on earthquakes and tsunamis following the
22 February 2011 Christchurch earthquake, and the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on
11 March last year.
Bas said their learning about natural disasters will continue, and he expects there will be a special focus on the topic in the lead up to New Zealand ShakeOut in September.
 
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