WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 30, 2020: PORT OF SPAIN, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO – Every year, the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) reminds us how important it is to prepare for disasters. This year, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic puts into perspective just how unpredictable disasters are and how far-reaching their impact can be.
In the midst of the current reality, the Digicel Foundation in collaboration with the ODPM hosted a virtual three-day capacity building workshop to equip special needs educators with the information necessary to protect themselves and those in their care in the event of a natural disaster.
The virtual sessions took place between September 17th-23rd and formed part of the Foundation’s ongoing Preparing you programme. The workshop was facilitated by Lesley-Ann Blackburn Training and Education Programme Officer- The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) and focused on; The differences between disasters and emergencies, developing emergency plans for home & school and emergency kit preparation.
Over 18 caregivers comprising teachers and principals from Servol Sunshine Hill, Each One Teach One, Palmera’s Learning Centre, Strategic Learning and Special Education Institute participated in the interactive and informative sessions.
The participants were then tasked with preparing a Draft Emergency Plan for their schools, as well as developing lessons plans to integrate Disaster Preparedness Training into their various schools’ curriculum. Additionally, teachers were encouraged to download the “Master of Prep” app which was developed earlier this year by the Digicel Foundation to give children with special needs the opportunity to practice “real world” skills in a safe space. The virtual reality game uses an innovative, interactive approach to engage special needs persons in understanding and preparing for severe hazards and disasters.
The Preparing You programme was launched in 2015 and is an initiative geared towards Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Evacuation specifically designed for persons with special needs.