Spyros Schismenos

Spyros Schismenos

Co-founder and CEO of My Safety Approved.
Focal Point for the Wider Region of Asia and the Pacific for the UNESCO Chair on Conservation and Ecotourism of Riparian and Deltaic Ecosystems.

Should children be further involved in disaster preparedness?

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The 2018 hurricane season just ended and left more than 150 fatalities, almost 29 billion USD in damages and affected thousands of people, many of which were families with young children. On the west coast, the wildfires in California were equally catastrophic. Again, families were highly affected. Despite the efforts from the professionals and the government, many people are still unfamiliar with disaster education and self-resilience techniques at the local level.
Emergency drills and other informational material can be effective and increase the survival rate, but these alone do not always guarantee a positive outcome when an extreme disaster occurs.  One of the  main problems stems from the fact that these programs are designed by experts who are not a part of the local communities, and therefore they are not familiar with their areas. Another problem is that the participants are often unwilling to join because the suggested planning does not suit their needs. In many cases these drills refer to generalized populations without taking into consideration the essential parameters of local life, culture, and the environment. Work and other responsibilities can also prevent people from attending such programs.
 
The children on the other hand, have more free time. What is more,  they are usually familiar with their living spaces, nearby areas, and the needs of each family member. Even though there are related programs that teach our children how to act in case of a disaster (e.g. earthquake), our children are not prepared enough to survive on their own or to assist someone if needed.
  
Through games and drills, both the teachers and parents could train the children proper disaster response techniques. This would result in turning them into young experts that are familiar with all the phases of a disaster (mitigation, preparedness response and recovery), basic first aid techniques and standard procedures that are followed in case of an emergency.
  
Do you agree or disagree with this article? How do you train your children?  Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
 

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