The Developing Community Resilience through Schools project was born out of seven Local Authorities achieving Beacon Status in 2007, recognising their strengths and innovative approaches to emergency planning. Of particular interest to the beacon assessment team was the work that Essex and Nottingham had developed around education of children and schools emergencies.
Essex County Council Emergency Planning Service has for a number of years led on developing a wide array of curriculum resources that can be used by teachers to enhance the education and awareness of Emergency Planning to pupils. Resources such as scenario based books (focusing on common emergency situations); puzzles and games have been designed to complement lesson plans which have also been developed to ensure that learning is undertaken in a fun and enlightening fashion.
Essex has piloted this work with a number of schools in the County and has had support to roll this out nationally from Cabinet Office (CCS) and Department of Education.
Essex County Council identified a series of opportunities to deliver curriculum based teaching materials which incorporated emergency planning. As a result of this, products such as the 'What If…?' interactive game, DVDs, puzzles, books and board games were produced. The aim of these products was to aid the teaching of emergency planning in schools in a fun and interactive manner.
The products are available in hard or electronic format.
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Nottinghamshire County Council Emergency Planning Team have led on developing a toolkit of information and resources to assist schools in developing a school emergency plan and training staff on the plan and emergency procedures. Exercising plans to ensure they work in practice is a key element of emergency preparedness, and part of the toolkit looks at how schools may choose to test their emergency plans and procedures and the educational benefits this can bring.
The information and resources have been designed not as prescriptive guidance documents, but as tailored, editable guides to provide schools with information, ideas and suggestions so they are able to choose how best to plan and prepare for emergencies for their own school. There is also scope for emergency planners and Children's Services departments to add in contact details and information specific to the local authority area, which can then be sent out to local schools to support and encourage their emergency planning.