Solving for X: Emergency Preparedness Adds Up
BY: PATTI OLIVEIRA, COMMUNICATIONS COORDINATOR
INTERVIEW BY: CHANTELLE QUESNELLE, MENTAL HEALTH LEAD
GUEST: George Luck, Secondary School Principal
May 31, 2023
I used to groan at the thought of learning complex math functions. When would I ever use them in real life? Now, it's a chorus I hear with my children! As I’ve grown older and wiser, I've come to realize the value of learning things that go beyond immediate practicality.
It's easy to dismiss the idea of emergency preparedness as something unnecessary or far-fetched—like those long algebraic equations where you’re solving for 𝓧 using letters, numbers and hieroglyphics! But just like learning certain math concepts, though you may never need them, they are still important to learn!
We spent hours trying to solve mind-boggling equations that seemed to have no connection to real-life situations. How often do we find ourselves solving differential equations while juggling our parenting duties? Not very often, I bet. Yet, we still acknowledge that learning that math, at the very least, enhanced our problem-solving abilities.
We see that our children learn all the drills – fire, severe weather, lockdown. . . Is this knowledge worth having when emergencies aren't a regular occurrence in their lives? YES! It gives them the tools and mindset to handle unforeseen situations. It's about more than anticipating disaster. It's about empowering them to feel secure and confident in the face of adversity. It's true - emergencies may not happen very often, but knowing how to respond can make a world of difference when the unexpected does occur.
George Luck, a dedicated and experienced educator with over 27 years in the school board, currently serves as the principal at St. Theresa's Catholic Secondary School. With a passion for the outdoors, time spent in extensive backcountry exploration, and training in wilderness First Aid, his diverse skills and experiences greatly benefit his role as an administrator and make him an asset for Emergency Preparedness. In the latest episode of Beyond the Bell, George joins Chantelle to chat about how we help our students prepare for the unexpected.
Chantelle: I guess it comes back to the word preparedness - that it's a balance of making sure staff and students know “what to do when”, and not causing that state of alarm that might happen if it … was the real thing.
George: Of course. If ever we do have these situations… students and staff will behave much like they do during some of the drills. So, if we have an unexpected fire alarm go off, everyone… is used to the fire alarm. Whether it's real or not, they exit in a very timely manner, they meet outside, and they really only know if it's a drill or not, if the fire department shows up.
Chantelle: My office is within an elementary school, and so I participate in all of the emergency drills the school runs. I would say, even as staff, to be part of that practice… I do have this sense of knowledge and comfort in following the routine that I know that I'm supposed to do and where I'm supposed to go and there's some comfort in that.
George: Practicing certainly does help reduce anxiety, decreasing any likelihood of panic. And of course, it might just even be about providing feedback if we notice something which might not be what we wanted or best practice. It reminds me of when we had a new supply teacher, and during a fire drill, the students were very helpful. They said, just follow us, we know what to do. And so they were certainly able to take that adult out… because they were used to the routine. They were very helpful, and they certainly weren't alarmed by it. They knew what to do.
Learning about emergency preparedness is not just about expecting the worst. It's about building a foundation of knowledge that empowers us to be proactive, responsible, and prepared for whatever challenges come our way. And even if emergencies never arise, the skills and mindset we develop will definitely enrich our lives and the lives of our loved ones.
Knowledge gained, even if we never have to apply it directly, is never wasted. So, let's continue to learn, grow, and prepare ourselves and our families for the unexpected twists and turns of life.
And when my youngest asks for help solving for 𝓧, I’m ready!