Safety preparedness of secondary schools in Kyuso District, Kenya
Mwenga, Sammy Boniface
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The increasing global rates of accidents and ugly incidences in the past twelve years involving students and staff have raised concern for the safety and security of schools than ever before. In 1998, the USA experienced eight school shootings prompting the congress to create the safe school initiative. The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) was directed to develop new, more effective safety technologies such as less obstructive weapons detection and surveillance equipment and information systems that provide communities with quick access to information they need to identify potentially violent youth (http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/topics/schools/technology.htm). Back here at home, cases abound. This study was conducted in Kyuso District-Kenya. This is among the newly created districts in the year 2007. The district is located in the semi-arid lands of Eastern Province of Kenya. It is inhabited by Kamba and Tharaka ethnic communities. The district has 20 secondary schools: two are provincial and the rest are district schools. Two of them are boys only: three of them are girls only and the rest are mixed schools. All are boarding schools. On average, each school has a population of 250 students. Boys have tended to be more than the girls. Just like in other parts of the country, schools in Kyuso District have been experiencing cases of arson, students riots, and disease outbreaks leading to loss of life and property. The purpose of this study was to establish the safety preparedness of secondary schools in Kyuso District, Kenya. Eight out of twelve schools from the district were chosen for study. Using questionnaires administered to the students, teachers and the headteachers using drop and pick techniques, data collected from the respondents data were analyzed quantitatively whereby descriptive analysis such as frequencies and percentages were used. A checklist was also used to verify the headteacherldeputy information received. Data were analyzed using the statistical package for social sciences (SPSS). Out of the eight schools where the questionnaires were administered, two schools declined to respond giving the researcher a response rate of 75% which was adequate for this study. The findings were presented using frequency distribution tables, pie charts, bar-graphs and percentages among others. The study established that in this district there are no adequate fire fighting equipments in the schools as majority, 43% had between 1 - 5 fire fighting equipments. In addition, the number of fire fighting equipment, fire fighting points and first aid kits were found to be un-proportional to the size of the schools and the number of students hence inadequate to deal with any emergency. The schools rarely trained their students on safety measures as indicated by 44.5%, hence the students were not well-equipped with necessary training needed to handle emergencies in the schools. In addition, the members of staff and school m:atrons were not well-trained on fire fighting techniques since only 56.0% were fairly trained. This study recommends that the school management embark on intensive training on health and preparedness for all students and members of staff to improve the level of knowledge on health and safety in the schools with more emphasis on the fire fighting techniques. This will make the students and staff well-equipped to handle emergencies incase they arise in the schools. The study found that there is need to increase the number of fire fighting equipments, fire fighting points and first aid kits in schools to increase the efficiency of emergency response.