Panic prevailed at Strathmore University during a surprise school security drill with nearly 20 students sustaining injuries during the operation to determine the university’s disaster preparedness.
Students jumped out for safety through windows from the high-rise complex of classrooms and lecture halls largely driven by panic and the thought of the 2 April 2015 incidence where gunmen stormed the Garissa University College in Garissa, Kenya, killing 148 people, and injuring more.
The well meaning school security drill at Strathmore University unfortunately brought an unexpected turn of events that needs re-examination of disaster preparedness especially in our schools. Drills are a first and important step in keeping schools safe and secure and if not well thought out or planned the intended course of action of learning points will not be achieved.
A School Security Drill is an exercise, other than a fire drill, to practice procedures that respond to an emergency situation including, but not limited to, a non-fire evacuation, lockdown, or active shooter situation and that is similar in duration to a fire drill.
Judging from the Strathmore University incidence and the culture that we have of not having enough practice on safety drills in Kenya even as adults in the work place and other adult institutions, the element of surprise is not important to practicing the school security drills-yet.
We need to have regular School Security Drills and in that manner inculcate in the students and staff that this is not just for emergency situations but a routine procedure for staying safe. When everyone in a school regularly practices the plan, school personnel are more confident in making decisions to effectively and efficiently manage an emergency or major event. With good training and practice, everyone involved will be better able to react appropriately to emergency events.
Why should schools carry out Security Drills?
1. Because it is a requirement.
2. To test your plan -Because you are ready to see if your plan or a part of your emergency plan is complete enough.
3. To build the relationships you will use during a real disaster.
4. Because each drill you do will help you down the road.
5. To expose leaks, test perspectives and give confidence to the students and staff for what to do.
REMEMBER – THE BEST DISASTER IS A WELL REHEARSED ONE