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Natural Hazards

, Volume 90, Issue 3, pp 1237–1257 | Cite as

Learning from experience: emergency response in schools

  • Karlene TiplerEmail author
  • Ruth Tarrant
  • Keith Tuffin
  • David Johnston
Original Paper

Abstract

In an emergency, schools are responsible for the safety of students until they can be reunited with their families. This study explored emergencies (i.e. bomb threat, a flood, and an earthquake) in three case study schools in New Zealand. Within each case, a selection of stakeholders (i.e. school leaders, staff, and parents) shared their experiences of responding to emergency events in the school. Lessons from participants’ experiences established factors before, during, and after an emergency that contribute to an effective response. Foremost among those factors was the importance of prior preparation. The study also identified recurring response activities, irrespective of emergency type, which enabled the development of a six-stage model of an effective school-based emergency response. The stages are: (1) Alerts; (2) Safety behaviours; (3) Response actions; (4) Student release/Family reunification; (5) Temporary school closure; and (6) Business as usual. The present study contributes to our understanding of research investigating how schools respond to emergencies and therefore seeks to enhance school safety efforts.

Keywords

Schools Emergency Response Lessons Experience New Zealand 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karlene Tipler
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ruth Tarrant
    • 2
  • Keith Tuffin
    • 2
  • David Johnston
    • 1
  1. 1.Joint Centre for Disaster ResearchMassey UniversityWellingtonNew Zealand
  2. 2.School of PsychologyMassey UniversityWellingtonNew Zealand

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