Disaster preparedness in public secondary schools in Githunguri District, Kiambu County, Kenya
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The purpose of the study was to investigate disaster preparedness in public secondary schools in Githunguri District. This study was prompted by the many disasters that have affected schools in the district especially fire disasters, therefore the need to determine how well prepared the schools are to handle disasters. The objectives of the study were: to examine disaster preparedness policies in schools; to assess disaster awareness among the school community members; to identify the disaster preparedness facilities and equipments; to establish measures put in place to enhance disaster preparedness; and to come up with mechanisms on how to enhance disaster preparedness The study was based on the systems theory and it adopted a descriptive survey design because it provided the real picture about the existing disaster preparedness conditions without manipulating the variables. The target population was all the 28 public secondary schools in Githunguri district. Stratified random sampling technique was adopted to select 12 out of the 28 secondary school to participate in the study. Participants in the study were all the principals and five teachers from each of the 12 sampled secondary schools in Githunguri District. The instruments used for data collection were questionnaires. Prior to the actual data collection procedure, a pilot study was carried out to ascertain the reliability and validity of the instruments. Data were both qualitative and quantitative. Qualitative data collected were put under themes consistent with the research objectives. Quantitative data were coded and entered in the computer for analysis using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). Descriptive statistics such as percentages means and frequencies were used to analyze the data. The results of data analysis are reported in summary form using frequency tables. bar graphs and pie charts. The study revealed that 66.7 percent of the schools had disaster management policies which turned out to be ineffective. The study established that the most (41.7 percent) common disaster faced in schools was fire. It was also established that 80 percent of the schools had adequate security lighting and first aid kits accessible by all. Regarding disaster management facilities and equipment, it was established that 86.7 percent of schools had fire extinguishers and fire alarms. However, it emerged that 61.7 percent of the equipment were hardly replaced over time, were in bad state and not repaired thus making them useless in times of emergency. The study established that 75 percent of the schools had well ventilated and lit corridors as well as open (unobstructed) escape routes, therefore making evacuation easy in times of disaster. The study recommended that: Ministry of Education should organize frequent workshops and seminars for school community members to teach them on how to manage disasters as well as how to perform simple first aid to injured people. Each school should have disaster awareness and preparedness department whose head should be recognized by the Teachers Service Commission. Members of this department should be conversant with disaster management skills and first aid measures. Further, the MoE should inspect and set ministerial regulations and guidelines on safety issues in all schools, therefore ensuring that all schools have put in place mechanisms and measures required.