PREVENTION STARTS IN EARLY CHILDHOOD
Abstract:Unlike other natural hazards, earthquakes strike suddenly and without warning. Consequently, prevention is the best we can do to ensure safety.
In spite of the large and medium earthquakes, some of them tsunamigenic, that affected Portugal in the past, the Portuguese society is little aware of the seismic risk and has not developed an adequate culture of prevention. This is most probably due to the long time interval between destructive earthquakes.
Earthquakes can be a real danger to societies, damaging human-made structures and endangering human lives. Earthquakes can trigger additional emergencies, and individuals should also be prepared to contend with it. By planning and practicing what to do if an earthquake strikes, children and their family can learn to react correctly and automatically when the shaking begins. Risks can then be dramatically lessened if the population is educated on how to react before, during and after an earthquake.
Children’s knowledge is ever growing. They have a fundamental role in changing societies. By educating the children of today we are forming better adults of tomorrow. We are simultaneously passing this knowledge to their caregivers and families. Through demonstrating how fundamental it is to be conscious of those issues, not only will the children will be informed, but also their relatives will be aware of such risks.
We use this approach to explain children how to assess risk in a broader sense. We teach them other preventive measures, namely those related with electricity, gas and the danger on non-potable water, essential topics on “what to do before an earthquake” but also on the daily routines.
This presentation will highlight the importance of encouraging a culture of prevention. This project funded by the Portuguese “Ciência Viva” program, and is conducted by science high-school students, teachers and the parents association. Scientific support is given by the seismology research group at Instituto Dom Luíz.