FRIDAY JANUARY 29, 2021: PORT OF SPAIN, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO- National disaster and emergency plans need to include provisions for students with disabilities, such as learning and developmental disabilities, visual and hearing impairments, and physical limitations. In partnership with the Trinidad and Tobago Fire Service, two special needs schools; Palmera’s Learning Centre and The Strategic Learning and Special Education Institute became the most recent to benefit from the ongoing capacity building exercises and vulnerability risk assessments at their facilities.
Although school doors remain closed, last week officers from the TT Fire Prevention Unit visited both schools to conduct initial Vulnerability Risk Assessments (VRAs) to determine the adequacy of Fire/Life Safety measures and make recommendations for improvement. The assessment forms part of the Digicel Foundation’s Preparing You Programme. The programme aims to increase the capacity of teachers and administrators on the nature and management of disasters, leading to improved preparedness and response within the school environment.
Officers Joseph and John visited the Strategic Learning and Educational Centre in Trincity pointed out that the school required the installation of a fire alarm system, emergency lighting, and sufficient fire extinguishers throughout the school. The officers also shared that egress signs along with a muster point must be identifiable and documented as part of the school’s Emergency Response Plan. Over at Palmera’s Learning Centre in St James, Officer Bartholomew and Edwards noted the presence of a fire alarm system, extinguishers and emergency lights at the school. On completion of the assessment, the officers took the opportunity to remind Principal, Mrs Earlene Phillips of the importance of frequently servicing the alarm systems and extinguishers. Additional recommendations included relocation of one exit, directional signs and allocation for a muster point for the school.
The educators at both special schools are set to engage their students at the beginning of February in capacity building lessons in Disaster Preparedness. This will be done through a blended approach and includes utilising the recently developed Masters of Prep game.
Masters of Prep was designed to help persons, in particular people with special needs and children to participate in disaster risk reduction, disaster preparedness, and emergency evacuation. The virtual reality game provides a safe environment for the player to experience, prepare and mitigate against the effects of disasters. The game can be downloaded for FREE in the Google Play Store and can also be played on a computer, phone or tablet. Download the game at https://bit.ly/2GK9JK5