UNICEF Expert urges schools to establish committees on disaster management

According to her, lack of information and communication before and during any disaster can lead to worst emergencies.

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Dr Judith Giwa-Amu, an emergency training expert with UNICEF, has urged school authorities to establish `Disaster Management Committees’ for quick response to emergency.

Giwa-Amu told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja that schools should monitor their environments so as to identify those factors that could predispose their students to disaster.

According to her, lack of information and communication before and during any disaster can lead to worst emergencies.

“When there is an emergency or a disaster, people are always confused not knowing the right action to take; they may even end up running into the disaster."

“School management must develop emergency plan which should be communicated to the students and the students must be familiar with it."

“They should be able to know what to do at any emergency situation. They should look out for those things in the school environment that can be a risk factor for emergency situation,’’ she said.

Giwa-Amu explained further that the authorities must create risk awareness and assessment adding that there was the need to also establish school disaster management committees including student’s representative.

“Also the vulnerable students must be considered; they must be sensitised on the right action to take especially with the vulnerable ones during an emergency situation,’’ she added.

She said students must ensure the safety of the vulnerable among them, adding that students should also be taught the use of security gadgets.

“For instance students should be taught how to make use of the fire extinguisher and it should be tested from time to time to ensure its efficiency and efficacy."

Giwa-Amu said practising these exercises ahead of time before any disaster would help them to address any emergency crisis that might arise promptly.

“Because you have been doing it before, it will be very easy to address the emergency situation."

She further advised that there should be a good rapport and collaboration between the school managements and the security agencies within their locations.

She advised the school authorities to establish partnership with the relevant stakeholders in the emergency and disaster management sector

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