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New project helping to prepare Greater Manchester’s children for an emergency

A NEW project is helping to prepare children in Greater Manchester in case of an emergency.

The project has recently been run at St Peter’s Smithills Dean CoE School in Bolton, teaching the children about emergencies, building their knowledge and resilience and ensuring their voices are heard in emergency planning and response.

Greater Manchester is developing a teacher’s pack, which schools across the city-region will be able to use to teach year five pupils about resilience and emergency response. The project will now be piloted at a second school as work continues to further develop the pack.

The year five pupils at St Peter’s learnt about a range of topics around resilience and emergencies, including flooding, fires and extreme weather. The children also had the chance to speak to officers from Greater Manchester Police (GMP) and firefighters from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS), as well as having a look around a fire engine.

The children also learnt about key skills in an emergency, such as how to make a 999 call.

The project involved an intergenerational approach, with a group of eight older people from nearby St Peter’s Church taking part with the children. This approach brings together a wider group with the aim of increasing awareness of emergency preparedness and building community resilience through sharing experiences across the groups.

The older people took part in some of the activities, including joining the children on a visit to GMFRS’ training centre in Bury, where they learnt about hazards and risks around fire safety.

The project finished with an assembly where the year five pupils presented to the school and their parents about what they had learnt including feedback from some of the older volunteers.

Greater Manchester’s Chief Resilience Officer, Kathy Oldham said: “This project is a great way of making sure our children are prepared if they are ever faced with an emergency and teaching them about some of the risks we need to be resilient to in Greater Manchester.

"Just as importantly though, it was an opportunity to explain their rights to them, and empower the children to have a say about how they should prepare themselves for an emergency and what they should do if an emergency happens.

“Having the volunteers from the church get involved made the project especially rewarding, allowing the children to work with the local community and learn from their experience.

“We are really pleased with how the project went and look forward to rolling it out further in the coming weeks and months.”

Christine Lancashire, Headteacher at St Peter’s, said: “The children really enjoyed learning about different types of emergencies and getting the chance to spend time with police officers and firefighters.

“Hopefully the pupils will never have to use most of what they have been taught about but it is vital they have these important skills.

“We were really pleased to get some of the older members of our community involved with the project and the children also enjoyed engaging with them.”

Article Published: 19/12/2019 11:29 AM