Hawston’s Primary School’s Grade 1 - 5 learners were taught about disaster preparedness and what to do in emergency situations on Friday, 17 February 2023 when Overstrand Municipality hosted a Disaster Management Awareness Day in partnership with the Western Cape Provincial Disaster Management Centre (PDMC) in Hawston.
On delivering his speech, the Overstrand Deputy Mayor, who is also responsible for Protection Services, Cllr Lindile Ntsabo, said children learn by example and it is important that schools and members of the community equip themselves with the knowledge they need in case of an emergency.
“If the proper measures are not in place, hazards like floods and fires could become disasters. Disaster preparedness is all about planning (and training) for events you hope never happens,” he added.
This sentiment was echoed by the Executive Director of Childsafe SA, Zaitoon Rabaney, who said whether children walk to school, take the bus or are dropped off every morning, it’s important that they know the safety rules of the road.
The learners responded exceptionally well to Gerry the Giraffe, the disaster awareness mascot. With his long neck, Gerry can spot a disaster from miles away.
Alex Rogers and Sharnay Wagner from SANCCOB briefed the learners about their efforts towards relieving the plight of penguins and sea birds. SANCCOB provides a 24/7 rescue service for sick and injured seabirds and abandoned chicks and rehabilitates and releases sick and injured seabirds back into the wild where they belong.
They also convey the very important message of not littering and how to be custodians of our natural resources.
Emergency Medical Services Paramedics, Lana Joubert and Richardo Telling, made sure the children knew which number to dial for an ambulance – 10177 from a landline and 112 from a cellphone. They said it is important to give emergency personnel your name and surname, contact details, and address before ending the call.
The programme ended with a firefighter training exercise and a demonstration of the use of firefighting equipment.
Programme Director, Gerald Kwela of the PDMC, said he hoped that the messages will be taken home and ultimately filter through across the board into communities.