Currently, 36 participants from 31 schools across Lhuentse are attending a six-day workshop on Disaster Preparedness and Response for Safe School, organized by the Department of Disaster Management (DDM).
Apart from Lhuentse, DDM has targeted four other dzongkhags for the training programme: Sarpang, Tsirang, Trashi Yangtse, and Paro.
According to the organizer of the workshop, Keshap Moktan from DDM, the students and faculty members have mock drill sessions which are very effective in other countries including Bhutan.
Similarly, the Deputy Chief Liaison Officer at the Ministry of Education (MoE), Kaka Tshering, one of the trainers for the project feels that the workshop is mandatory.
“The September 2011 earthquake left the students of Drugyel Higher Secondary School traumatized because such mock drills were never conducted in their school,” he said adding that in comparison students of Ugyen Dorji Higher Secondary School in Haa were more composed because they had been taught basic rescue skills by the department.
People from the fire service division in Thimphu (Royal Bhutan Police), a doctor from a hospital in Paro and a trainee from the education ministry (MoE) are also taking part as trainers in the workshop.
Head of the fire safety and disaster management with the Druk Green Power Corporation (DGPC), Thinley Dorji working at the Chukha Hydro Power Corporation, feels that the time for such workshops is now.
“Participants are all interested too, because they don’t get such opportunities always,” he said.
He also said that some participants grasp the tactics taught in the sessions easily while others are slow learners.
“It does not mean that they are not interested but they learn slowly because they are new to such lessons,” he added.
The participants were trained on basic first aid by the doctor while the trainer from MoE imparted lessons on education in emergency.
Research shows that the fire extinguisher is 99.9% effective, so participants of the workshop were taught how to use a fire extinguisher.
Two members from every Higher Secondary and Middle Secondary School had to attend the workshop, and one each from Community Primary Schools and Primary Schools.
DDM is now left with their last school in Paro for their workshop on Disaster Preparedness and Response for Safe School.
The workshop is funded by Environment and Conservation Organization (ECO) and is routed through Save the Children under United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF).