UNESCO and UNICEF Support the Community-based Simultaneous Earthquake and Safety Drill
On 28 November 2018, UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office and UNICEF Iran supported the 4th community-based and community-led earthquake drill in Iran.
In 2015, the strategic committee of the International Institute of Earthquake Engineering and Seismology (IIEES) started a pilot project to transform schools into temporary crises management hubs to serve the local community at the time of disaster. In this initiative, students, schools staff, and local community living in the vicinity of safe schools are adequately trained on the basics of disaster preparedness and early response.
IIEES was established in 1989, following the recommendation of the 24th UNESCO General Conference and has played an effective role in providing formal and non-formal education. On the day of Drill, Dr. Kambod Amini Hosseini, Director of Risk Management Research Centre of IIEES stressed on the vital role of community in Disaster Risk Reduction and Management, arguing: “over-dependence on the police and government aid at the time of disaster could be counterproductive”.
At Fatemeh-Pezeshki girls’ school, the earthquake and safety drill of 2018 was simulated after broadcasting the alarm from the national radio. Students and school staff performed safety procedure and evacuated the building, forming organized lines. Meanwhile, trained students practiced first aid demonstration, emergency sheltering and initial fire extinguishing. On the community side, fifty families were trained over four weeks on the basics of disaster risk management. Moreover, copies of the neighbourhood blueprint, with the identified safe and dangerous spots were disseminated widely among locals. With support of UNICEF and UNESCO two schools were equipped with non-structural safety elements such as: protection layers for windows, connexescontaining emergency tools, portable electricity generators, shovel, crowbar, emergency kit, tent, shovel and pickaxe, etc.
The community-based school drill was first piloted in five provinces and scaled up to ten schools in each of 31 provinces of Iran, as well as the minimum of 5 schools in their respective counties in 2018. IIEES, with the assistance of Pupils’ Association of the Ministry of Education, National Disaster Management Organization (NDMO) of the Ministry of Interior, the Iranian Red Crescent Society, and international organizations, has anticipated to provide similar trainings for all schools and their neighbouring communities by 2025.
To access the guideline (in Farsi) for school staff and disaster management focal points in communities, click HERE.