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Enhancing community safety through educating children

Published 12/12/2012

Victoria State Emergency Service (SES) delivered a pilot program on flood and storm awareness to students at Debney Meadows Primary School during October and November 2012.Students learn about emergency preparedness during a pilot program at Debney Meadows Primary School

SES volunteers and staff engaged students from local ‘Horn of Africa’ communities, enhancing their knowledge of SES and what they should do to stay safe when faced with emergencies.

A key intention of the program was to educate young students in the hope they would take their new learnings home to their families as it is often the case that these children have more advanced English speaking skills than their parents.

The program, which ran for five weeks, saw students participate in activities including building a sand bag wall and erecting tarps. They also discussed appropriate actions to take around floodwater and during severe storms, including who to call for assistance.

The pinnacle event of the program was an Amazing Race on Friday 30 November during which the students worked in teams to complete challenges requiring problem solving and drawing from their new knowledge of SES.

The program is seen to have significantly raised awareness of the role of SES by the participants, and through them, the greater African communities in the Flemington area. This program is only one of many events which the SES Multicultural team have been involved with in recent months, all in the interest of enhancing public safety through community engagement.

Enormous thanks must go to Chris Patton and Northcote SES, and in particular Peter Marshall, whose involvement was pivotal to the success of the program. He brought his knowledge of the service, vast operational experience and warm nature to help further enhance the awareness of SES in the community. His contribution of time, energy and expertise is greatly appreciated.

Students learn about emergency awareness at Debney Meadows Primary SchoolStudents learn about emergency awareness at Debney Meadows Primary School