UNESCO School Safety Project and Fire Drills New “Hot Topic”

(EMU) – St. Kitts, April 16, 2013: The concept of School Safety took on new meaning when Principals from schools around St. Kitts participated in a fire extinguishing drill as part of a one-day Fire Training Workshop.

The event organized by Mr. Michael Blake who conceptualized and presented the School Safety Project to UNESCO, turned out to be quite an interesting experience for the participants who were more accustomed to dealing with planning, disciplinary issues and generally managing the school.

Understanding the practical details of fire extinguishing included learning the need to point the hose at the base rather than towards the top of the fire, that there are different types of fires that require different solutions for extinguishing as well as the fact that there are serious repercussions for using the wrong kind of extinguisher on a fire. These were all eye openers for the participants.

Teacher training is an on-going component of the UNESCO School Safety Programme which encompasses activities inclusive of input by the Ministry of Education, Private Sector Partners, Fire and Rescue Services, Defence Force, St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force and Red Cross among others. The programme is managed by the School Safety Council comprising representatives from each mentioned organization.

This particular training exercise is one which will be continued in order to get more teachers involved. The suggestion followed the heightened interest and “buy-in” by principals.

A final word of caution was given to the participants when it comes to School Safety in the case of a fire. That warning was that no matter the magnitude of the fire and whether you believe you are able to contain it, the fire department should be contacted immediately.

The Ministry of Education recently received tools for School Safety including fire extinguishers all sponsored by UNESCO. The Ministry is currently in discussion with CEDEMA (The Caribbean Emergency and Disaster Management Agency).

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