‘Preparing You’ (Launched June 2015) is a Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Evacuation Pilot Project specifically designed for persons with special needs. The project is being implemented in association with the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) and is co-funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme (SGP) which is implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Five Schools in the southern region of Trinidad have benefited from this project thus far.
They include: Lady Hochoy School Penal, Lady Hochoy School Gasparillo, Pointe-a-Pierre Special School, Rio Claro Learning and Development Centre and Servol Happy Venture. The project focuses on training and improving the Disaster Management Frameworks of these schools.
The project is divided into three phases:
Phase 1 - Through partnership with the ODPM, phase one trained 31 special needs teachers and caregivers in Disaster Preparedness and Evacuation strategies via ‘Train the Trainer’ workshops.
Phase 2 - These newly trained special needs teachers then transfer the lessons learned to over 200 children with special needs over a 3-month intervention period. Alternative teaching tools such as puppet shows and other therapy based techniques were used to make these lessons relatable to the children.
Phase 3 – This phase seeks to upgrade the schools’ safety infrastructure and includes enhancements such as; new fire extinguishers, emergency alarm systems and evacuation signage at the schools. As part of this process the ODPM’s special needs planning handbook was updated, as a result of the consultations. Additionally, a database of the special needs populations for Emergency Response is currently being created.