The children of the Multi-cultural Family Base began their Cuidar project (commonly called Take Care in the UK) by wanting to learn more about disasters and what they could do to help themselves and others stay safe during these times. They also expressed a lot of interest in meeting with those who respond to emergencies.
The group — made up of a diverse range of children from the Craigmillar area of Edinburgh — decided to look at the concepts of risk, hazards and resilience through the lens of flooding.
During one activity, the group was asked to come up with a short play about what might happen in such a situation and what they would do. After the group had split in two and presented to one other, everyone gathered together again and talked through some of the reasons why a flood might happen (“it’s raining all the time”; leaving your windows open; leaving the tap on; your neighbours leaving the tap on) and then how to prepare and/or fix the situation:
- “Phone a plumber?”
- “Store food upstairs.”
- “Wear warm clothes and carry PJs.”
- “Use bricks to cover holes.”
- “Use sand because it soaks up water.”
Other suggestions such as helping neighbours, having an emergency food stash and having a torch available were mentioned. When talking about calling for help, the children discussed imaginative and creative ways of doing so. A favourite was suggesting people keep a mobile phone charged followed by digging an escape tunnel. When asked what items they would leave behind if they had to leave their home, electrical items and schoolwork were the responses.
The children prepared to visit local emergency services and were asked to think about key questions they wanted to know the answer to in relation to the prioritised hazard (flooding) and beyond. The following questions were what the group came up with.
- How hard is your job?
- What would happen if you left your hose on in a flood?
- How do you save people’s lives?
- How do you feel in work?
- How do I keep friends and family safe?
- Can you help us stop the flood?
- How do you know how to save us?
- How do you keep pets safe?
- How did you learn?
- What would you do to stop this flood?
- How can we help you (police)?
- How old do you have to be to join the police?
- How do I become a police officer?
- How do you put out fires if you have no water?
- What do you do in a flood?
- Are you good at your job?
- Do you have the right equipment?
- How do you rescue people?
The group was visited by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, who answered their questions about keeping themselves safe. They even got to see the fire engine and were rewarded for their excellent questions with a siren and flashing lights! The children are now preparing for their final showcase event in order to speak to their parents, the local community and emergency practitioners about what they’ve learned and the ideas they’ve come up with as relates to flooding.