School Earthquake Safety and Preparedness Training
The National Capital Region of India, which consists of Delhi and surrounding smaller cities including the booming commercial center of Gurgaon, is located in India’s second highest zone of seismic hazard. That elevated hazard is due to the region’s location south of the Himalayan foothills, where experts agree that massive earthquakes will inevitably occur.
The region’s seismic risk received relatively little attention until a January 2001 earthquake struck close to the city of Bhuj in India’s western state of Gujarat. That earthquake badly damaged the city of Ahmedabad, Gujarat’s commercial capital, which is located approximately as far from the epicentral region of the 2001 Bhuj earthquake as Delhi is from the Himalayas. The destruction in Ahmedabad made the National Capital Region’s seismic risk starkly clear. Since that time, a number of efforts have been launched to improve earthquake safety, but the needs are massive, and much work remains to be done.
GHI is partnering with Bechtel India to reduce school earthquake risks and to educate students, faculty and parents about earthquake preparedness. The School Earthquake Safety and Preparedness Training project expands and continues work that began in April 2008 with a GHI-Bechtel pilot project at Gyan Devi Public School in Gurgaon. Building on the success of that initiative, GHI staff and employee volunteers from Bechtel are now working together in Chiranjeev Bharati School in the Gurgaon area and hope to expand the effort to reach more schools in the state of Haryana and elsewhere.
In this project, GHI staff work with Bechtel employee volunteers to mitigate hazards and to provide basic disaster awareness and earthquake preparedness training. The team works in project schools with school administrators, teachers, students, and parents to: (1) identify potential hazards posed by furniture, equipment, partitions and windows that could fall, slide, or break and injure children during an earthquake; (2) identify feasible mitigation solutions based on GHI’s school falling hazards mitigation handbook; and (3) implement mitigation solutions in order of priority based on the nature of the hazard, the cost of mitigation, and other factors.
With support from GHI and Bechtel, each project school forms a school safety committee made up of teachers, students, and parents. GHI staff and Bechtel employee volunteers train the committee in basic disaster awareness and earthquake preparedness. They also train school administrators, teachers, students and parents how to prepare for earthquakes and other disasters, including how to safely evacuate the school.
GHI staff and Bechtel employee volunteers use training materials developed with funding from USAID, Bechtel Foundation, and Klehn Family Foundation. These materials include Microsoft Powerpoint (™) presentations, student guides, and instructor guides. GHI produced the instructor and student guides below with the support of the Klehn Family Foundation.