Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen, I’m pleased to be in your midst to speak on Election Readiness for Schools.

Are we aware of the information released by the Ministry of Education on Mid Term breaks in the school calendar to help the school calendar?I believe that is a good show of initiative and being proactive. However, you will agree with me that election violence and other related issues do not just happen on election days. It could be days before or days after the election.

So, how can you get your school: staff and students, ready and safe from harm?*Get rid of potential hiding spots*

Do you have bushes around your school? Do you have tree branches from outside the school which are now very obvious on the school premises. Those branches are entry points for miscreants to come into the school without using gates. Whenever, political rallies take place, miscreants hang around to take advantage of any chaos.

Chaos is an opportunity for theft and injury. Therefore ensure there are no hiding spots in the form of uncut bushes or illegal entry through tree branches*Adequately trained security personnel*

You would probably say, my security team are trained and already know the procedure. While that is okay, this period is a good time to have a refresher training with them and tighten some lax security procedures.

This is the time to go the extra mile to ensure your school is secure and there are no sad stories. As an extra precaution, get the phone number of the police unit or NSCDC in your location. It’s more specific to your school Location but if it’s tough finding that then don’t forget to call 112 or 767*First Aid*

Now, we do not pray for anything to happen but just in case what are your plans if injury arise? Depending on the size of your school, you need a properly equipped First Aid kit or a sick bay/school clinic. This is a must for all schools however, you must go the extra mile and have a hospital around the school where you have an account.

The plan here is when things are beyond your First Aid Kit and school clinic, you need to have a hospital that knows your school and can spring into action to help while parents and family members get contacted. I know some of us have certain big names of hospitals we want to be associated with but if these hospitals are too far from your school location, they are not ideal for emergencies. In an emergency, time available and knowledge are key to reduce its effects*School bus drivers/movement*

This period of rallies, our school buses might be on the roads on those days. What can we do to ensure that our drivers are aligned?

You’d agree with me that some convoy drivers and campaign rally drivers can be mean but it’s that enough reason for our school bus drivers to start pulling stunts with our children in the bus? No.

Therefore, we need to speak with our bus drivers not to engage with those drivers no matter how unruly they are. Teach them to be observant as they drive so they can take alternative routes when they see trouble brewing.*Be Flexible*

For now, you might need to manage your closure time. Know the existing pick up plans for your students and their home addresses so that if for some reason no one shows up to pick them up, you can help out.

It’s always good to have a plan in case of unforeseen circumstancesLast but not the least

*Listen to the news*

Being updated on happenings in the country would help you know what is going on per time and this would help you make informed decisions

Now, that’s that about schools. I’ve decided to also share personal safety tips which I shared on my social media handles @TheSafetyChic this weekFew days to election, news breaks out of a major politician getting involved in a fatal accident, riots begin to break out at different spots across the country, a curfew has been set, and your child has just had an accident at home. What would you do?

Now, calm down and come back to today🙂 nothing has happened yet but would you be ready if things were to go haywire on your street, polling booth or state during this period? Yes, I know “God forbid” and “it’s not your portion” but asides that, do you have any other practical plan for your safety?This is not to put you in a state of panic however, here are things to consider

1) Avoid political arguments. Once a conversation begins to get heated, walk away

2) Be careful when using party paraphernalia. As a matter of fact, on election day, you have no business flaunting them

3) Stockpile on important household materials

4) Have a well equipped first aid kit and know your doctor’s  number5) Be observant and conscious in public spaces. When you begin to sense unrest, walk away

6) Miscreants capitalise on chaos, so, now is the time to have a conversation with security personnel at your homes, estates and workplaces on “dos and don’ts” for this period

7) Avoid late nights and undefined crowds

8) At polling booths, keep your candidate choice to yourself. You have a right to keep it confidential. It’s no one’s business really9) Avoid violence or provocation to violence 🙂 Learn to walk away

10) Avoid flaunting huge cash and expensive gadgets

Ultimately, you are responsible for yourself and your family this period, be proactive.I’ve tried to run through everything as quickly as possible across the 36 groups

Do we have questions, concerns?