Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Emergency Evacuation

When I was at school the only type of drill we ever did was fire drill.  When the bell rang for a drill  we all had to go outside and line-up on the tennis courts and  we got to miss 20 minutes or more of the lesson messing about in a line while the teacher tried to check we were all there. Until I came to Nepal that was the only drill I ever saw at a school. (Any older readers remember duck & cover?)

Well at KISC we have four different types of health & safety drills. Of course the fire drill, but we also have an earthquake drill, an intruder drill (in case somebody not very nice gets on campus we can lock down) and an Emergency Evacuation. Thankfully in our time at KISC we've never had to do any of the drills for real, however the Emergency Evacuation is the only one that has been done for real during KISC's history.

But what is the emergency evacuation I hear you as?!? The emergency evacuation drill is where we practice getting all the students home, by foot as quickly and as safely as possible, or for those who live too far to walk, to a “safe house”, usually a friend's house nearer the school. We do this in case we suddenly have to close school because a curfew has been called, or a very strict bandh or local protests mean we don't feel it's sensible to keep the school open.

So every secondary teacher and student and primary siblings are allocated a walking group. As the bell rings we all move to our walking groups coloured spot which is painted on the courtyard floor. Once all our students are there we are dismissed by the principal, one group at a time and set off walking home. Thankfully most students at KISC live within a 20 minute walk of the school which means the actual evacuation is relatively short. As we walk the students home we try to avoid the main roads and walk the back streets, as in a real situation the main junctions may be full of protesters, and taking a group of 15-20 students probably wouldn't be the best idea.

We're thankful that we haven't had to use the Emergency Evacuation for several years, since the 2006 revolution. We pray every time we're coming up to an evacuation drill that we'll never have to use it again for real. However, in a country with the political stability of Nepal, an only 7 years out of a civil war it's important to be prepared for that as a fire or an earthquake.

No comments: