In yet another example of nature’s fury, an earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale, lasting approximately twenty seconds, struck parts of Nepal near Kathmandu on Saturday, 25th April. Strong tremors were also felt in many north Indian cities including Lucknow, where the intensity of the earthquake was recorded to be around 6.9.
The day at Staford was progressing at its normal pace with students of classes 3 onward enjoying the magic show in the atrium and the remaining studying in their respective classes. At around 11:41 am, the ground started shaking. No sooner did the teachers realize that it was an earthquake than they sprang into action to evacuate the school building. The mock drills that Staford had conducted in the past to tackle such situations were extremely helpful in the smooth evacuation of the building. Children have been trained in the past and are very much aware of the steps to be taken in such an emergency. Subsequently, in no time, the children lined up and rushed towards the open field. With the assistance of the teachers, the students watching the magic the magic show also shifted to the open field. The orderly movement of the students and the quick action of the teachers ensured that the evacuation of the students to the open field was done in the minimal time with no injuries.
Once at the open field, a headcount was done to ensure that no one was left behind in the building. The students were pacified and settled.
Incessant phone calls confirming the safety and security of the children continued all through the remaining day. Some of the parents turned up at the school to collect their kids. The remaining kids were sent back to their homes by the school transport after informing the same to their parents.
In summary, the prior training in the form of mock drills, skits, demos and theoretical course work on response to emergency situations played an important role in the safe evacuation of students and helped prevent the situation from getting any worse. For all of us it was a first hand experience at how fragile life is and how everything can change in a fraction of a second.
We pray for the safety, security and well being of all our loved ones, and extend our prayers and support to all the people, both in India and Nepal who are witness to this disaster.