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Earthquake Day

With  Mount Etna erupting and Iceland preparing itself after hundreds of earthquakes for another big volcano eruption, tomorrow the 14th of November is significant, as it is ‘School Earthquake Day or Earth Tremble Day.’ Starting at 11:14 the safety drill will take place across all schools within the Autonomous Region of Madeira. This initiative, promoted nationwide by the National Civil Protection Authority (ANPC), seeks to draw attention to seismic risk and the importance of simple but life-saving behaviours that citizens should adopt if a sizeable earthquake occurs.

The Regional Secretariat for Education, Science, and Technology (SRE) and the Regional Civil Protection Service, within the scope of their partnership project entitled “Education for Safety and Risk Prevention,” promotes this initiative at a regional level. Also in this context, a pedagogical video was made of the self-protection measures that should be adopted in this risk situation. This video was made by the Insular Association of Geography, also a partner in the aforementioned project, with the collaboration of SRE.

Eighty public and private schools in the Region will participate in this initiative, involving a total of 15,660 students from various levels of education. Basic earthquake emergency behaviours will be taught and practiced, especially inside building training.  The three stages taught, are: LOWER, PROTECT, AND WAIT. The exercise will last 1 minute.

Students will also be reminded that, in an earthquake situation, if they are outside, they should not enter buildings, but rather look for wide open spaces with little risk of falling structures (buildings and trees). After the last earthquake in the region, this exercise is of increased importance, with the participants being more sensitive and motivated to take part.

This activity works on citizenship issues associated with natural and technological risks, with teachers assuming a fundamental role in promoting a growing culture of safety within the school community.

Samantha Gannon

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