It takes approximately eight minutes for civil defence teams to reach the scene of an emergency at present, and a new initiative by the General Directorate of Civil Defence (GSOCD) will soon ensure that students and educational staff across the emirate know what safety measures to take within this time period.
This increased awareness will be the result of a series of preventive programmes and inspection visits to Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) premises, regional offices, schools, institutions and universities by GSOCD teams, senior safety officials confirmed in the capital yesterday.
The visits will be launched as part of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the two authorities yesterday.
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We already carry out regular inspections in schools… during that process, we came to the realisation that both students and faculty were unsure about how to handle emergency situations," said Colonel Mohammad Abdullah Al Nuaimi, Acting Director General of the GSOCD.
"Since it takes approximately eight minutes for response teams to arrive to a scene… our aim is to inform everyone on what must be done within that time… also, in the case of educational facilities that have laboratories, people must be aware of how to avoid any additional injuries or property damage caused by chemical reactions," he added.
According to Lieutenant Humaid Al Ali, Head of the Civil Protection Section in the Civil Defence, the MOU includes three main stages: inspections to ensure that the educational institutions fit the Civil Defence's safety requirements, training of faculty members and forming a dedicated fire marshal team, and finally, creating evacuation plans that are unique to each institution.
"The biggest concern we've observed during our inspections, both scheduled and random, is the lack of awareness by faculty and students on the steps necessary to handle an emergency situation, especially fires… this agreement will help us establish the framework to address this," Al Ali said.
"We are also working with other sectors including health and labour."