School Preparedness and Resilience in Exam Time

Examstock image dreamstime_xs_52589783 time is upon us again.

Lots of stressed out teenagers sat at small desks in gyms and halls across the country feeling like every word they write will determine the course of the rest of their life.

But what does exam time mean in terms of preparedness and resilience?

Well it changes how we do our business quite significantly.  All of a sudden we have a whole new set of considerations we need to plan for.

Firstly we have mixed up our usual peer groups so we need to be accounting for them differently in the event of an evacuation, like for a fire alarm.  All our usual assembly areas will have changed too so any rehearsals or drills we have previously carried out are now void.  It may be that we should consider adding an evacuation brief to the normal exam preamble about not talking and being escorted to the loos.

Next we only have one set of the relevant exam papers which we open on the day of the exam when we hand them out.  What do we do if they are damaged or destroyed?

We are also probably using different facilities.  We love to put them all in the gym or the hall where we can keep an eye on them at once, and we need less invigilators that way.  But what do we do if we can’t use that facility.  Do we have a plan to use other classrooms?  If they are en-bloc to the hall or gym they might be unavailable too.  But the exam has to happen at that date and time to prevent cheating!  What are we going to do?  Now we are in multiple smaller classrooms rather than one big hall we need more invigilators, who are they and how will we get hold of them?

Beyond ‘logistics’: building reputation management and psychosocial resilience

What about our reputation?  What does it say about us if we get this wrong?  A good friend of mine always says “Just imagine the headline”.  As a professional organisation we have to get this right.  Relations between students, parents and school can be a challenge at the best of times.  Not to mention maintaining our image in the community.  Every crisis is actually an opportunity.  Managing any disruptions during exam time will really set us above the pack!

Finally what about our consideration of psychosocial resilience.  Our young people are going through what is probably the most stressful experience they have ever had in their lives to date.  ChildLine and the Samaritans always report a significant spike in calls from young people at this time of year.  A recent survey by ChildLine said that a worrying 64% of their 1300 respondents stated they have never received any support in dealing with exams.  Even more worryingly these same respondents said they dealt with exam stress by smoking, taking drugs and self-harming.  Sadly, for some it is all too much and results suicide.  We should be looking to the psychosocial welfare of everyone in our school communities, but we should be making even more efforts during exam time.

What we need is a set of contingency plans specifically for exam time that sit as part of our Crisis and Continuity planning.  The young people sitting these exams are suffering from enough stress without the uncertainty of being unable to actually sit their exam or have it disrupted.  They are the future after all and we have a duty to give them the best support we can.

Ben O’Toole

This article was written before the latest headline hit Bomb threats across UK schools on GCSE exam day as caller vows to ‘behead children’ For more information on practical tools for school preparedness and resilience visit evaq8.co.uk/schools

What are “invacuation”, “lock-down” and “shelter-in-place”? How do they link to emergency preparedness and why is that important for business?

Invacuation_EVAQ8-shelter-in-placeOften there is confusion about what  these, sometimes interchangeable, terms mean. Perhaps this is because the typical safety procedure everyone in the UK is most familiar with is to evacuate – the standard ‘get out – stay out – call 999’ advice of fire safety.  In contrast, staying in when ‘all hell breaks loose’ is counter-intuitive at first, especially for commercial or public premises. However, ‘getting out’ is neither possible nor wise in a number of scenarios as will be explored shortly in the wider sphere of workplace emergency preparedness; but first things first, a quick look at the terminology:

 “in-vacuation is probably the least known term but once you understand the meaning as ‘inverse evacuation’ you will always remember this wordplay on opposites

“lock-down” refers to an emergency protocol to prevent people (or information) from escaping and typically involves some form of violence.  Lock-down examples in the news typically concern bomb threats or attacks, especially in crowded places such as at sports events, theatres, shopping centres or schools.

“shelter-in-place” in the UK is mostly understood in two quite specific ways, both rooted in fire safety:

  • “go in – stay in – tune in”, the ‘classic’ shelter-in-place order issued by the emergency services. Typically, this may happen during a major incident such as a large fire, hazmat or security incident.  It means that you have to close (and seal, depending on the severity of the incident) all doors, windows (and vents) to create a contamination free space. Take immediate shelter in a readily accessible safe location and await further instructions. Stay well away from window panes that may shatter and cause injuries
  • specialist measures to provide safe shelter and security from hazards to vulnerable persons that may have difficulty to evacuate such as wheelchair users, the elderly or persons with disabilities

However, since the tragic events in Paris and while UK threat levels remain SEVERE, these understandings are now expanding beyond fire safety into emergency preparedness for all persons and at all levels. That includes business, especially if located at or near crowded places. The recent “Run – Hide – Tell” safety video from the National Counter Terrorism Security Office is an excellent example which reflects this.

Why “shelter-in-place”, where and how?

‘Hiding’, or hopefully a more controlled, planned and prepared emergency procedure such as  ‘shelter-in-place’ protocols are not only about terror threats such as lone shooter incidents or a firearms and weapons attack as in the above NaCTSO video. Shelter-in-place is highly relevant for a range of scenarios which, broadly, can be divided into ‘man-made threats’ and ‘natural hazards.

Shelter-in place or invacuation rather than evacuation makes sense not only for threats

  • explosion, structural damage
  • hazardous materials (HAZMAT, i.e. biological, chemical …)
  • attack with weapons and/or firearms, bomb threat, drones
  • civil unrest, riot

but also for natural hazards such as storms and severe weather, severe cold or heatwave, during an earthquake, pandemic or , most relevant for the UK, flooding which destroys more businesses than fire. So, what does an ideal shelter-in-place room look like?

 

Shelter-in-place: rooms above ground floor, for example …

  • interior rooms with no windows  and/or
  • exterior rooms with loadbearing walls, few windows and vents that can be sealed
  • adequate space to sit people, avoid overcrowding by selecting several rooms
  • feature fire doors and a way to barricade yourself in may provide additional safety

Utility rooms, large storage rooms, pantries, conference rooms etc. may work well as designated shelter-in-place areas. In addition

  • install a landline telephone in the room to call for help, mobile phones may be overwhelmed
  • mark the room(s) with a ‘shelter-in-place’ sign on the inside of the room only for security reasons and assure your safety personnel and staff are well trained (download free shelter-in-place sign to print)
  • strategically place preparedness supplies; i.e. emergency food and water, light & communication etc.

 

Shelter-in-place procedure – emergency plan

Specific procedures for shelter-in-place vary depending on the nature of the environment, anticipated and planned for threats and typically include:

  • close the premises
  • inform staff, customers and visitors to stay, not leave and go to designated areas immediately
  • do not walk or drive outdoors
  • ask all people present to turn their phones to silent and call their emergency contact to let them know where they are and that they are safe unless there is an imminent severe threat where silence must be observed
  • turn on business call-forwarding or alternative telephone systems. If you have voicemail, change the recording to indicate that you are temporarily closed, that staff and visitors are safe and will remain in the building until authorities have issued the all clear
  • lock (and seal) air vents, doors, windows;  draw shades, blinds or curtains in case of an explosion
  • turn off or disable fans, heating and air conditioning as well as all other non-essential electricals
  • get hold of your emergency supplies and go to your previously identified shelter-in place area

Ideally, on each floor you will have access to an emergency grab bag, individual One-Person-Compact-Survival-Kits for staff as well as a Shelter-in-Place Kit for up to 20 persons in each shelter-in-place location. While this is perhaps not possible everywhere, absolute minimum supplies include battery powered or wind-up radio (communication), flashlight and/or headtorch, first aid, long-life food and water. Also recommended are waterproof gaffa tape and either plastic sheeting or garbage bags that can be cut and taped to provide emergency seals.

Once securely at your shelter-in-place location

  • keep calm, stay behind solid objects well away from glass
  • place signs in exterior windows to identify your location where possible
  • make list of everyone in the room, their address and affiliation with your business (employee, visitor, customer…) and then call your designated emergency contact to report
  • listen to radio, watch TV or use the internet to stay informed
  • await further instructions until the all clear is given and it is safe to stand down

 

Shelter-in-place is usually resolved quickly but may last for several hours or even days.  To find out which risks are most pertinent to you see the National Risk Register  and the local risk register published by your Local Resilience Forum.  You may also find our google slides “Shelter-in-Place at work” useful for your own Emergency Preparedness.

Security, health & safety and duty of care are just some of the reasons why it makes sense to be prepared. Make appropriate plans and get the emergency kit that is right for you. If none of our standard emergency kits are suitable, simply contact us for a competitive bespoke quote. Our friendly and knowledgeable team is always happy to help and advice.

Finally, check out ‘Project Griffin’ which provides briefing events to increase public and staff awareness of how best to reduce and respond to the most likely types of terrorist activities.

 

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Building Community Resilience – one UK school at a time | open letter to Primary and Secondary School Headmasters

Since 2005 we have been at the forefront in championing School Emergency and Disaster Preparedness in the United Kingdom. To raise awareness and promote affordable solutions such as best practice School Resilience Package and School Emergency Grab Bags our mail campaign is here now also reproduced for wider dissemination.

Threats to Schools | best practice Emergency Management and Business Continuity

Dear Headmaster

Recent major incidents both natural (i.e. storms Desmond, Eva and Frank) and man-made (bomb threats to UK schools at home and abroad) have once again highlighted the urgent need for schools to be better prepared.

SEMP templates are problematic. Freely available templates may appear a ready solution. However, in practice they do not hold up for three main reasons:

  • not sensitive to the needs of individual schools
  • tricky and time-consuming to assemble
  • do not comply with recognized best practise standards such as existing ISO or British Standars which means a lack of robustness

Affordable solution

School Resilience Package to ISO and British Standards & School Emergency Grab Bags following NaCTSO guidelines.

For full details please visit evaq8.co.uk/schools

EVAQ8 Ltd has been at the forefront of championing School Emergency and Disaster Preparedness in the UK since 2005. As the UK’s Emergency Preparedness specialist, we look forward to being of service in all aspects of your school’s practical Emergency and Business Continuity Management to further your community’s resilience.

School Emergency Planning & Exercise - Preparedness = Resilient Communities

School Emergency Planning & Exercise | Preparedness = Resilient Communities

 

Zika Virus Outbreak – Travel Health – what you need to know to be better prepared and minimize exposure

The WHO has just declared an international emergency in response to the emergence of the zika virus

The race to understand Zika link to baby microcepahly is on yet the fear is that for those threatened by Zika, vaccines may not come soon enough. Brazil has warned pregnant women to avoid the Olympics and Public Health England is advising to consider delaying travel to countries with ongoing Zika outbreaks. The list of affected countries is unfortunately expanding fast …

… and climate change may affect the spread; considering trade and travel, this may well extend beyond current projections such as

How can I protect myself from Zika?

Short answer: no mosquito bite – no Zika.

Follow these simple yet effective steps when travelling to minimize exposure

You may also want to read the latest developments with regards to Zika virus being sexually transmitted; i.e. Reuters on WHO calls for further investigation into sexual spread of Zika virus.

With regards to Business Continuity and potential impacts to the economy of regions affected by Zika, read Prof Geraint Johnes’ (Lancaster University) illuminating article The human cost of Zika is clear, but will Brazil’s economy suffer too? drawing comparisons to recent SARS outbreaks affecting Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and China.

Thank you for sharing #travelhealth #preparedness   

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Preparedness: 5 Principles now join with 5 Practical Core Areas: the ‘new’ 5Ps + 5Cs for a resilient tomorrow

dehydratedWaterNo, I’m not going to sell you anything like this latest product ‘dehydrated water’ so that your tomorrow may be worry free. Sorry.

And you’re not the only one with raised eyebrows at this point but do join those of the ‘old school’ even if they declare my maths is off: they are thinking of the 7 P’s concept from the military which stands for “Prior, Proper, Planning, Prevents, Piss, Poor, Performance”.

My maths is not off I assure you. Tongue firmly in cheek I squarely blame it on the cuts 😉 for there is now a modern, leaner and perhaps more elegant version that can be counted down on just one hand.

The ‘new’ 5P’s: prioritize, plan, prepare, practice, peace of mind

Prioritize: what types of disasters are you planning for? Differentiate risks and hazards and make a scenario list

Plan: do what, where, when and how? Make your emergency & disaster preparedness plan, don’t let it accumulate dust.

Prepare: the right tools in the right place for the right people – if you add ‘at the right time’ then I’d counter ‘well before the right time’ – bounce ahead to make bouncing back a breeze (What disaster – Why Preparedness? and Prepare for a world that’s more than 2° C warmer)

Practice: head stuff is great but legwork is even better

Peace of mind: do the above and WYDIWYG – what you do is what you get, a form of WYSIWYG or what you see is what you get; one not just only for the geeks :-)

 

Now, principles are  good, tremendously useful actually but still not quite good enough – another so called  ‘Goldilocks’ case where we really want ‘just right’ . So, we need to expand it just a little more. After all

it’s all about Emergency Preparedness Capabilities and Capacities

…being able to perform and achieve and having the right tools in place to do so.

So, enter the 5C’s to complement the 5P’s. Initially conceptualized to run on facebook as part of this year’s “September is Preparedness Month” campaign contribution we have honed in on the five preparedness core areas to complement the 5P’s you’re now already familiar with. They are:

5Ps5Cs_expanded

Food & Food Preparation: MRE (meal’s ready to eat, military style – they know what they’re doing!) yummie quality calories mean fuel so that body and mind can continue to function, water purification provides safe water to drink and prepare food.

 

Tools & Personal Protection: depends on skill set (or lack thereof), nature and level of threat and location; see Survival Tools; PPE – especially respiratory masks.

 

Shelter & Warmth: a core temperature drop of just 1C can mean hypothermia. Eating and moving provide warmth but rest is inevitable; insulation via Emergency Blankets, Sleeping Bags, Tents and Beds.

 

Light & Communication: human vision (optical) is seriously compromised in low light conditions. Torches, hands-free head-torches, battery free wind-up torches, rechargeable lights... you get the idea. Flashing lights and lightsticks attract and can signal for help or serve as warning to indicate danger.

 

First Aid & Hygiene: vastly depends on skill; the former that is, not the latter. No use having a suture kit if you only know cross stitch but you it’s difficult to overdo the soap. You can also never have enough clean bandages as a field medic friend reliably tells me so here at least you can and should go all out; First Aid; Hygiene and also useful are Travel Accessories i.e. camp shower and folding toilet.

 

Ok, so now you’ve got your 5P’s and 5C’s – or at least our informed version of it. But what does that actually mean? Well, I wish I knew who was behind this guest post titled The Six P’s and the Three S’s of Prepping for this person, clearly coming from a solid old school prepper background has an excellent and modern insight – although I may take issue with his or her maths 😉

I hope I made you smile – and think. Happy Monday.

Monika
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Prepare for a world that’s more than 2° C warmer | Climate Change

That’s the UN’s most recent analysis. The world – us – will have emitted enough carbon to warm the planet by 2°C  by the year 2036, that’s just 20 years down the road!

“I think it is clear [the targets] will fall well short of what is required for any reasonable probability of avoiding 2° C”

So says Alice Bows-Larkin, Professor in Climate Science & Energy Policy of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research in Manchester UK as quoted in The New Scientist edition No 3046 of 7 November 2015 I’m reading this Remembrance Sunday (italics added by me; read the extended article online at The climate fact no one will admit: 2 °C warming is inevitable).

Barring any sudden personal tragedies or the ability to resettle on a different planet, this will impact us all: me, my family and friends as well as you, your family and friends.

What will a world be like with ‘just’ 2°C extra heat  – do we actually know?

I’ve heard people joke that they are looking forward to warmer and sunnier days. Well, now that would be lovely indeed, especially if you live quite far north (or south). Joke aside; it is actually an interesting reaction and not necessarily one born out of simple ignorance. For example, Freudian’s would point and say: classic denial, one of the most primitive defence mechanisms, a refusal to accept reality to avoid painful feelings. Cognitive psychologists would describe it i.e. as optimism bias and/or discounting, limitations on our rational cognitive processes  (i.e. see earlier post Resilience and Preparedness Roadblocks: what stops us?) It’s probably a bit of all of the above plus a good sprinkling of individual personality, beliefs and experiences.

Reality is, however that we will be getting more than just warmer and sunnier days. The crux of problem is, nobody really knows just exactly what it all means.  Climate change is one of the most urgent and profoundly complex challenges we face.

Better and better models – but we are really running out of time

Vast amounts of data feed numerous models every day (i.e. MetOffice) yet in the end they are just that: models, an approximation to reality.

At best, models attempt to explain and hopefully predict the future. How accurately? Well, that remains to be seen. The ukclimateprojections.metoffice data and projections many still use may well be outdated (2009 PDF) assuming ‘medium’ emission scenarios.

A 2°C warmer world – some reasonable predictions: heatwaves and flooding

Warmer means more heatwaves

 

Serious Climate Change Problem: how to stay cool

Running air conditioners is the short-sighted answer and it’s not just about guzzling energy which may overload the grid but also about dumping hot exhaust. Where we currently stand with producing not only efficient but also sustainable air conditioning systems I do not know (see The Guardian). Spraying or dousing heat stressed people with water only works to some extent as Dr Sundeep Dhillon explained recently at the Extreme Medicine Expo,  personal factors such as fitness and acclimatization play a huge role. Treating heat illness will increasingly become a hot topic very soon. Undoubtedly we will see more of this:    

Warmer also means more flooding because of more severe weather events. There is a good chance that the weather will not play by ‘our rules’ as per our models. Exceptional may well become the new normal which means more of this:

Yemen just this week, twice in quick succession:

Cape Verde in late August / early September

Flooding also happens because of rising sea levels. Thermostatic expansion, a volume and height increase as sea water warms plays a role as does melting ice. Some recent predictions are dire for coastal cities such as San Francisco:

Image from Coastal News Today, authority in Coastal Engineering News

Models and projections while essential, don’t necessarily provide solutions. Models don’t’ fix.

Engineering, although playing a hugely important role to i.e.  reinforcing and saving infrastructure, building in more resilient ways for the future, can also be problematic as The Rockefeller Foundation recently highlighted:

We need more than just design solutions, however. We also will need real alternatives to insurance for while a 2°C World Might Be Insurable, A 4°C World Certainly Would Not Be and we are fast there fast. We need a change in attitudes. We need a sense that we individually can really do something, change behavior, change culture and change our world for the better.  It means a serious interest and investment in disaster risk reduction. At the most fundamental level,  it all starts with prepared individuals that can achieve realistic confidence in the face of crisis. So, what is your Emergency & Disaster Preparedness Plan? Check our free resources and look through some of the earlier posts here.

Have a great week.
Monika    

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Why template School Emergency Plans do not add up

Back in 2004 the Civil Contingencies Act was born.  This obliged the myriad Local Authorities around the country to start planning in earnest for issues which could occur in their area, and for the most part they are doing a good job.  There is an obligation placed on the Local Authorities to “…assess, plan and advise…”  Due to this Local Authorities felt an obligation to their Local Education Authorities and put together something for the schools in their area to use.

This is where things started to go awry.  A quick google search will turn up a myriad of template plans from various Local Authorities.  When one delves into the Document properties it becomes obvious that

there are really only two plans out there

One produced by Nottingham County Council and one from Manchester City Council.  Both of them were produced around the same time 2011/2012.  They were both creditable attempts of dealing with the issue at the time.

Now however, things have moved on.  When the two plans were produced the big buzzword in emergency planning was continuity.  This was a discipline which fell out of the business arena and dealt with still being able to maintain a product or a service during a disruption.  Quite a cottage industry has grown up around this along with overly costly and complex ISO certification.

Now Business Continuity is no longer viewed as being the be all and end all, but rather one part of the solution.

The two templates were understandably continuity heavy.  Sadly they were not in depth enough to be considered as compliant with ISO 22301 which is the International Standard for Business Continuity.  In fact

in one of the plans around 85% of the mandated content is missing.

This therefore presents Local Education Authorities with somewhat of a conundrum.  One that most of them are blithely oblivious of.  Every year schools within the public sector are obliged to be audited against the School Financial Value Standard.  This is a series of questions which seeks to ascertain whether public money is being responsibly used.  Question 25 of this document states:

Does the school have an appropriate business continuity or disaster recovery plan, including an up-to-date asset register and adequate insurance?”

Given how these templates stack up against ISO 22301 the answer should surely be no.

However, time and again this box gets ticked off due to the presence of one of these templates.  The situation is that the Local Authority is auditing itself against a document which they have produced and not had externally verified.  I cannot say that this sounds like a well-executed audit of how public money is being spent.

So let us delve further.  In 2014 BS 65000:2014 Guidance on oganizational (sic) resilience was published.  This document fundamentally reassessed how organisations should prepared for and deal with emergencies.  This document divides this into three fundamental areas.  Firstly risk assessment.  BS 65000:2014 is explicit in its guidance that all emergency planning should be threat based.  Risks are to be identified, recorded and managed.  For me this is the most fundamental part of any emergency planning.  How can you plan for things if you do not know what they are?

The second area is that of Crisis Management.  This is the “what do I do right now?” part of dealing with an emergency.  This particular discipline has been around for a while now.  Private sector organisations have become very aware that dealing with the immediate effects of an incident will reduce the impact on them, reduce the financial cost, reduce reputational damage and make recovery to normal a much speedier process.  Last year BS 11200:2014 Crisis Management – Guidance and good practice was published.  This document formalised an area which has been quietly growing in importance and complexity over the past ten years.

The third area is Business Continuity.  This is the part which should be the most comprehensive given that this is the most mature.  Here we are dealing with “how do I maintain delivery through a disruption and how do I return to normal?”  This area has been detailed for quite some time as an International Standard.  ISO 22301:2014 is the latest incarnation.  However, if you have 22301:2013 don’t rush out to buy the update, I did only to find that the only change was the year.

So far I have dealt with why templates do not work in terms of benchmarking against British and International Standards.  I now want to deal with

other reasons why one should not use a template

Firstly everywhere is different.  This may sound trite but one size does not fit all.

Ok the cartoon is referring to standardised testing but you get the idea.  We can all go to a high street store and buy a medium sized shirt.  It’ll fit ok but never as well as if you had had it made for you.  A resilience strategy is just the same.  Different organisations will have different risk thresholds; different thresholds for how much service they want to maintain; and different risks which affect them.  For a strategy or response to be the best response it can be it must be unique to that organisation.

Secondly the people filling in the templates lack the competency to do so.  This is not to slur those working in the various schools around the country, they do a very hard job and should be commended for it.  They are not, however, emergency and resilience practitioners.

Without a full understanding of risk assessment and management, crisis management and business continuity someone filling in a template can never create a document which lives up to its fullest potential.

Thirdly, it is lazy.  Yes this is a strong thing to say, but I stand by it.  These templates are being passed all over the country and are not being checked against the very clear and detailed British and International Standards by the individuals and organisations who are supposed to be the subject matter experts.  I even saw one in place in a school in the south of England which said that the grab bag should contain a Manchester A to Z!  Frankly this idleness on the part of those distributing these documents is endangering lives.  There is a very strong culture of “good enough” which permeates through the whole of our society and frankly it is pushing us all into a national mediocrity.

Finally, it is

leaving key individuals open to prosecution and litigation

A casual glance at any kind of social media will demonstrate that as soon as something happens people immediately reach for their mobile phone and start recording it.  Every response we make in a situation is recorded.  As such it must be justified by being in tune with current best practice.  This is leaving organisational heads in danger of prosecution and civil litigation.  It won’t be the people passing out these templates who end up in the dock, it will be the headteachers.

 


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A factual comparison: Emergency Grab Bags for Schools, official UK Guidance vs EVAQ8 Kits

We often answer questions about how exactly our School Emergency Kits (S221 and S220) match up with official requirements, especially following our launch of the UK’s first School Resilience Package. To make it easy, here is a factual comparison.

School Emergency Grab Bags / School Emergency Kits: what does the official UK guidance say and how does this compare to EVAQ8 School Emergency Kits?

  • UK Schools are mandated to produce robust Emergency and Business Continuity Plans (SFVS 2015)
  • An integral part of robust plans is to have the right practical resources in place; i.e. NaCTSO “Grab Bags’ should be available in key locations, which contain essential equipment and information.”
  • An easy way to comply is for the school to have the right Emergency Preparedness Kits

Each School, small or large, is advised to stock a School Emergency Grab Bag

To aid clarity, the following image is a comparison drawn across the most recent NaCTSO guidance, a typical School Emergency Management Plan (SEMP) template1 as currently in use and both School Emergency Kits available on this website. We hope you find it useful. Right-click on the image to open a larger version and use CTRL+ on your keyboard to magnify.You can also view it as a more comprehensive PDF version.

There are a few non-mandatory additions given in official guidelines. Please see the full PDF verison for details.

How good is good enough and what is robust? A more critical look.

As you may appreciate, official guidelines cover bare minimum requirements. However, chances are this is not good enough for you.

That is why our Emergency Kits are fully customisable.

Why should you compromise or stick with the bare minimum? Emergency Preparedness is too important a topic to be taken lightly. Get the Emergency Kit that’s exactly right for your school at competitive prices and with minimal lead times. Placing a bespoke order is easy.

Also, you may want to differentiate between mobile School Grab Bags versus ‘Shelter-in-Pace’ / in-situ Emergency Preparedness Resource Kits for lock down situations. Our friendly and knowledgeable team is happy to advice or simply browse the Emergency Kit section so see standard and custom-made kits.

That covers Emergency Kits – what about Emergency Plans?

Well, templates are a start. However, frankly speaking, not a very good one especially when leaving gaps which mean that individuals such as headteachers can be prosecuted. The aim of the Corporate Homicide and Corporate Manslaughter Act was to put an end to organizations being culpable, shifting responsibility to individuals.

Why ready-made templates are not fit for purpose you can read in more depth in the next post  Why template School Emergency Plans do not add up.

The solution: affordable and robust custom made School Resilience Products.

For background, please see Emergency Preparedness and Resilience for Schools – a new approach. Alternatively, simply use this blog’s categories drop-down menu and look for posts tagged ‘schools’.

Don’t delay! Let us make your plans and sort your kit so that you can be better prepared to the latest recognized standards:

  • Schools Financial Value Standard 2015 (SFVS)
  • NaCTSO National Counter Terrorism Security Office, 2009 “Counter terrorism protective security advice for Higher and Further Education”
  • BS 6500:2014 Organisational Resilience
  • BS 11200:2014 Crisis Management
  • BS ISO 22301:2014 Business Continuity Management
  • BS ISO 31000:2009 Risk Management

Resilient Schools – Resilient Communities: let’s start building today! Introductory prices for School Resilience products remain in place only until 31/12/2015.

Take advantage now.

 

References:

1 School Emergency Management Plan (SEMP); in use across counties, i.e. Merseyside, Hertfordshire, Nottingham etc. Sample accessed (1/10/15) from


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UK Community Resilience – a brilliant example of what really works | part 2

About 6 weeks ago I first told you about the successful Community Resilience model NYLRF Community Emergency Plan scheme” in my post UK Community Resilience – a brilliant example of what really works. Then, I gave you some solid scientific background on why this project was destined to score excellent results. Now it’s time for the promised details and updates.

Good news: communities are engaging in a very positive way

Since the scheme’s launch, North Yorkshire Resilience Forum (NYLRF) has seen a marked increase in community motivation, engagement and response.  Thanks to their substantial and sustained awareness raising efforts, more and more communities understand not only the necessity but also  the value of Emergency and Disaster Preparedness.

NYLRF’s success is such that they have managed to affect positive change in their local culture:

• communities are now pro-actively contacting NYLRF for information and support

What an amazing U-turn away from seemingly countless evening meetings and long presentations to sceptical audiences by hard-working NYRLF staff! Now they can concentrate their efforts on what they know best: creating and maintaining the many pieces of fine mechanics that make Community Resilience clockwork ticking accurately and with style – just like a Swiss watch, only with people in complex situations and hence much more difficult to achieve than one of my country’s most valuable exports.  

Who is lighting the way for Community Resilience in North Yorkshire?

Thousands of people are affected by known flood risks or sadly have previous experiences of incidents such suffering prolonged power outages or being cut off because of severe weather. Eleven communities are right now successfully completing the NYLRF Community Emergency Plan scheme, thus establishing themselves firmly on the map of Resilient Communities:Resilience Building Communities in North Yorkshire Congratulations to the brilliant trailblazers: Ingleton , Hellifield, Clapham, Swainby, Snape, Kirkby Fleetham, Crayke, Romanby, South Milford and Tadcaster

Almost 22’000 people are already benefitting

… from their active engagement with Emergency and Disaster Preparedness and the good news is that more communities are joining every week. All town/parish councils above mentioned have received their Community Preparedness Kits (or will shortly do so) and will also receive first aid  and defibrillator training for their community if requested.  More information via North Yorkshire Resilience Forum. And there is more! NYLRF are looking at how Community Emergency Preparedness Planning can integrate with and augment existing Yorkshire water distribution plans. For example, one work in progress is investigating the feasibility of using identified initial meeting points and/or rest centre car parks as water drop off points. Also, North Yorkshire County Council Emergency Planning Unit (NYCC EPU) and the Environment Agency’s Rapid response project are working closely together to engage with communities on their register that are at Very High and High risk of flash flooding.

The scheme will be adopted for flood risk across communities

Since it has been shown that the NYLRF Community Emergency Plan scheme increases both personal and community resilience it will be made available in areas where there is little or no warning of flash floods. Communities will be better prepared and be able to act as competent first responders in many cases. Isn’t this all simply brilliant? I am amazed and thrilled to see this all taking shape. All these ‘pieces’ are massively important Community Resilience Building Blocks and I hope that North Yorkshire’s positive and empowering local culture change will continue to spread far and wide. Just how this can achieved in a fairly simple yet extremely effective way I will tell you next time when I talk more about Tadcaster. They are doing something truly inspiring to connect people and bring their Community Resilience firmly into the age of social media and the internet. Please do spread the word about Community Resilience and Emergency Preparedness in your area and if you want more info on custom made kits just check the website or simply get in touch. Our friendly and knowledgeable team is always happy to help. Let us all be ready for what may well shape up to be a rough Winter. For now, we still have a few glorious autumn days and so I leave you with this stunning image of Ingleton and wish you a Resilience-building week. 

Monika (also read Part 1 of this story and see the 2016 community resilience and preparedness flyer)  

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Emergency Go Bags for prize giving arrive at NYLRF 28/04/2016

Community Resilience Building Blocks – it all starts with prepared individuals

September is Preparedness Month in the US and this is also gaining traction over here in the UK. This year, some of our Local Resilience Forums have run campaigns locally as well as on social media, for example using hashtag #30Days30WaysUK on twitter, an easy way for you to track and check out some of the goings on. Take away the ‘UK’ and you get the international version.

September also sees the publication of the Annual Disaster Statistical Review (PDF) by CRED, the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters.

This is important because it lets us take stock.

So, what are the latest Disaster statistics?

  • 324 Natural Disasters were registered worldwide last year, 54 in Europe (image opposite is Kefalonia Earthquake)
  • estimated damage overall just under USD 100 billion (ouch!!)
  • 140.8 million people affected (heartbreaking)
  • almost 8000 people lost their lives (tragic)

While stark, these 2014 numbers are thankfully lower than in previous years; perhaps a measure that we are getting better not only at Disaster Risk Reduction and Disaster Recovery but also at Preparedness. However…

How well prepared are we really? What’s the evidence?

It’s 50/50 really, meaning that typically 50% of people report that they are not prepared. One of the few UK studies1 I found showed that 51% of respondents (London) had partially completed their recommended emergency plans and only 48% stocked the recommended emergency supplies.

To me this means there is still a long way to go. We must increase awareness for Emergency Preparedness but we also must walk our talk and get better equipped in a very practical sense with actual tools and practical resources. Behaviour change is challenging. Just how much I’ve started tackling in my previous post “Resilience and Preparedness Roadblocks: what stops us?” Do have a look and become a ‘Drag-on slayer”.

Since we are talking preparedness, other important questions are:

What is the evidence that Household Preparedness actually works?

Does Household Preparedness really contribute to Community Resilience?

You would say yes, wouldn’t you, intuitively?

It kind of simply makes sense that prepared individuals cope better in the event of an Emergency or Disaster and that this also contributes to Community Resilience.

Well, it turns out that science backs this up. UK studies are rare so I opted for the next best thing: A Literature Review on Household Emergency Preparedness2.

Scientific conclusions are clear: Household Emergency Preparedness pays off

Reviewing almost 80 relevant studies, Levac and colleagues have good news, summarizing that:

  •  most injuries, death, damage and loss caused by disasters are preventable
  •  adequate household emergency preparedness could significantly reduce such negative consequences of disasters
  • sufficient household emergency preparedness contributes towards people being able to care for themselves in the immediate aftermath of an event

Most importantly:

“One of the most effective ways to mitigate the effects of a disaster is through proper household emergency preparedness”

… and that entails ….

“Emergency Preparedness involves knowing the risks particular to a community, developing an emergency plan and having an emergency kit in the home containing food, water and medical supplies to shelter-in-place for 72 hours”

Just a few days ago, Rafael Lemaitre (FEMA’s Director of Public affairs) reiterated this with a rather funny contribution on twitter

 

Personally I would upgrade the 72 hours to 5 days. Why? In a major event supply shortages and utility outages may be substantial, especially if you live in or near an area prone to flooding (just remember i.e. Key Moments of the UK Winter Storms) I also would differentiate between an Emergency Go-Bag and a Shelter-in-Place Kit and add that Emergency Plans are only effective if they’re reviewed and practiced regularly. Twice or three times a year is good to keep it all fresh.

So, how about your Winter Preparedness? Whether Britain [is] braced for long, snowy winter and winter storms remains to be seen although records do tend to show that El Niño gives colder European winters. In any case, I’m not taking any chances and advise you to do the same. After all, we’ve just seen that

Preparedness really does reduce the negative impacts of Emergencies and Disasters and helps individuals as well as contributing to Community Resilience.

As they say: It’s a no brainer really 😉

And if you want to read more about one of our most recent active projects at the local community level head over to UK Community Resilience – a brilliant example of what really works. If you want to go back to where Preparedness all starts, have a look at one of the earliest posts Resilience what it is and how it connects to crazy weather.

Have a great weekend and a brilliant last week of 2015 “September is Preparedness Month”.

Monika


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References:

1 Page, L., Rubin, J., Amlot, R., Simpson, J., & Wessely, S. (2008).Are Londoners prepared for an emergency? A longitudinal study following the London bombings. Biosecurity & Bioterrorism,6(4), 309–319.

2 Levac, J., Toal-Sullivan, D., O’sullivan, T. (2012) Household Emergency Preparedness: A Literature Review. Community Health, 37:725-733