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Disaster Management

dscf0677smaller Over the past eight years we have regularly run Operation Montserrat, our disaster management simulation video conference. But last week we ran one with a difference!

Students form an Emergency Response Team to monitor a volcano, a hurricane and generally keep the residents of the small Caribbean island safe. This activity is suitable for key stage 3 and 4 students helping them to build on many skills from geography and maths to team building, communication and citizenship.

 Last week we upped the ante when we piloted a version for a corporate team of apprentice engineers. Never flinching at a challenge the rest of the team and I set to it in preparing ourselves and the content for a slightly modified version of this very popular outreach activity.

 So the tweaks were made, differentiation was applied and we were ready: The morning came and our nervous guests were almost ready to start. They were given an introduction and a chance to practice some of the skills they would be using, to help put their minds at ease. Once prepared, the video link was established with me (Commander Josh) in mission control and the disaster management began.

 The team was pushed hard, thrown straight into the deep end and they performed admirably, coordinating between the evacuations, preparing radio broadcasts and monitoring hazards and it was great to see the team work so well together. Although it wasn’t without its divisive moments! The big one occurred when half the group wanted to send a ferry full of people out into treacherous weather conditions and the other half thought the presence of an approaching hurricane made this a silly idea.

 Overall it was a great experience for both the participants and our team. There is always a concern when we use a workshop designed for students with a group of adults that they will just breeze through it. One thing we have found with this and our simulated space missions for adults that when placed under a bit of pressure things don’t always go to plan and despite their age and experience the grown-ups struggle just as much as our younger visitors.

 Despite the challenges everyone left with smiles on their faces with both guests and staff feeling they had learnt something from the experience and we can’t wait to run our next one!

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