Page 1

Indradhanush Academy Rainbow Foundation India H. No. 1-1-711/C/1, Opposite Vishnu Residency, Gandhi Nagar, Hyderabad-80 Ph.: 040 65144656 Email: indradhanush.ces@gmail.com Website: www.rainbowhome.in / www.amanbiradari.org

Printed by: Print World # 9810185402

Emergency Protocol For Sneh Ghars


Emergency Protocol For Sneh Ghars

Indradhanush Academy Rainbow Foundation India


We would like to thank‌ In researching and writing these handbooks, we have drawn on best examples in the work by pioneers like Sister Cyril in Kolkata, MV Foundation led by Shantha Sinha and the BOSCO Brothers. We have added learning based on the efforts of Centre for Equity Studies and Aman Biradari, of work with state governments of Andhra Pradesh and Delhi; to establish and manage Sneh Ghars in Hyderabad and Delhi. Without the support of the senior officials in the Department of School Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) especially Secretary, Anshu Vaish, Additional Secretary Anita Kaul, Directors Neelam Rao and Maninder Kaur, and the state governments of Andhra Pradesh and Delhi, this effort would not have been possible. This effort was supported by grants from Partnership Foundation, Wipro and Sir Dorabji Tata Trust. We are grateful to the following experts who authored various portions of the detailed manuals; for each, this was a labor of love. The writers are Ambika Kapoor, Harsh Mander, Preeti Mathew, Satya Pillai, Shashi Mendiratta and Sveta Dave Chakravarty. We learnt a great deal from the children themselves, as well as the team members or Sneh Sathis who undertook the pilot to establish Sneh Ghars, in Loreto Rainbow Home, Kolkata, the Dilse team, Delhi, and the Aman Vedika team, Hyderabad, for providing rich insights on residential care setups in functional schools. We acknowledge Satya’s stewardships and for holding the reins of all the teams to ensure timely completion of this complex task. She was ably advised by Sister Cyril, Sveta Dave, K Anuradha, Ferdinand Van Koolwijk, Fr George Kollashany, and Shashi Mendiratta; and assisted by her team members Preeti Mathew and Ambika Kapoor. We would also like to thank Aarti Chandra for patiently going through the transcripts and editing them Finally, sincere and heartfelt thanks to Harsh Mander, for his inspiring leadership of the entire process of putting our learnings together and ensuring that the child remained in focus at all times.

3


Contents Section 1: Introduction................................................................................................. 5 Section 2: Crisis Situations, Prevention and Responses............................................... 9 Section 3: Crisis Communication............................................................................... 19 Annexure 1: Crisis and Risk Assessment Worksheet................................................................ 26 Annexure 2: Lockdown Protocol.................................................................................................. 28 Annexure 3: Evacuation Protocol................................................................................................ 29 Annexure 4: Responsibilities of Project Head during a Crisis............................................... 30

4


Section

1

Introduction

Safety is a fundamental human concern; one that every Sneh Ghar must take seriously and strive continually to achieve. It is also a legal concern, as the Sneh Ghars can be held liable if they do not make a concerted effort to provide a safe and secure environment to its residents. Crisis, an event or a sequence of sudden disturbing events that have the potential of harming the children, Sneh Sathis or the organisation usually arises on a short notice and triggers feelings of fear and threat amongst individuals. It is a reality the Sneh Ghar team must be alert to. This document aims to provide guidance for developing a practical and viable emergency plan for a Sneh Ghar. It promotes a common understanding of the fundamentals of risk and helps to produce integrated, coordinated and synchronised procedures. It aims to prepare children and Sneh Sathis to face unexpected developments and adverse conditions with courage and determination and to help them adjust better to the changes it brings with itself. However since every home is unique by virtue of its design, location and number of children, and each has a culture and history of its own, the general directives elucidated in this manual, therefore, should be adapted as appropriate to each Sneh Ghar’s circumstances.

Crisis Management Framework Crisis management, conventionally, is based on the framework of four phases: Preventionmitigation, Preparedness, Response and Recovery. All phases are highly interconnected; that is, each phase influences the other three phases and can be seen as a cyclic and ongoing process: (a) Prevention Prevention is the action taken to decrease the likelihood that an event or crisis will occur. It also helps to eliminate or reduce the loss of life and property damage at times when the crisis cannot be prevented. (b) Preparedness Preparedness takes the form of plans or procedures designed to save lives and to minimise damage when an emergency occurs. Planning, training and exercising are the essential elements of preparedness. These activities ensure that when a disaster strikes, emergency 5


personnel will be able to provide the best response possible. Since action for prevention and preparedness overlap often, they appear together in this document. The following points should be borne in mindi.

Conduct a safety audit once ever quarter. (Refer Annexure 1). Review data related to previous crisis incidents. Identify issues that may seem minor now but have the potential to turn into crisis. Assess to determine how these problems may impact the residents and the Sneh Ghar.

ii.

Agree on a concrete plan of action for the time when the actual crisis occurs. Determine who will be responsible for what.

iii.

Determine an evacuation site about 500 to 1000 feet or more from the Sneh Ghar to where the children can be shifted if required in an emergency

iv.

Establish the procedure to account for children during a crisis.

v.

Determine the sequence of communication with Sneh Sathis, children, families and the media (if required).

vi.

Train all Sneh Sathis and children on safety procedures at the beginning of each year, with a refresher every quarter. Explain the important do’s and dont’s and the rationale behind evacuation and lockdown procedures. Train Sneh Sathis to be aware of the risks and vigilant of unusual behaviour and situations.

vii. Evacuation and lock down drills should be held regularly. viii. Keep recent photograph of every child and Sneh Sathis in the home. ix.

Have all the numbers of emergency services displayed prominently in the home.

x.

Keep parents updated about plans for the children and keep them informed about schedules.

xi.

Have a robust community network. They can be called in for immediate support in the event of a crisis. Determine what crisis plans exist therein.

(c) Response A crisis is the time to follow the established and agreed emergency plan and make use of the preparations; with the objective to preserve human life, protect property and structures, care for the environment and facilitate the continuity of services and operations in the Sneh Ghar. Some important points to remember here are: i.

Determine if the situation occurring qualifies as a crisis.

ii.

Identify the type of crisis and determine the appropriate response.

iii.

Inform the immediate senior and other Sneh Sathis at once.

iv.

While awaiting help, ascertain whether an evacuation or lockdown needs to be implemented.

v.

Maintain communication among all relevant Sneh Sathis.

6


vi.

Establish what information needs to be communicated to the Sneh Sathis, children, families, the community and the media. (Refer Annexure 4)

vii. Ensure that emergency first aid is administered. (d) Recovery After the crisis has abated, efforts should focus on restoring normalcy. Recovery includes physical and structural mending or reestablishment, psychological and emotional healing and restoration of the time schedule. The following steps should be followed: i.

Strive to return to a routine as quickly as possible.

ii.

Monitor carefully as to how the children, first responders and others affected are dealing with the emotional impact of the crisis.

iii.

Identify what follow-up interventions are to be made towards the children, Sneh Sathis and the first responders.

iv.

Conduct debriefings with the Sneh Sathis and first responders.

v.

Allocate enough time for recovery.

vi.

Capture ‘lessons learnt’ and incorporate them into future revisions and trainings.

vii. Plan how anniversaries/memorials of crisis events will be commemorated.

Children with Special needs Some children may have special emergency needs due to their physical abilities, others who have sensory impairments or have difficulty understanding special instructions during an emergency. More specifically these include those •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• ••

In wheelchairs Using temporarily or permanent crutches for walking Unable or have difficulty walking up or down stairs With vision impairments With hearing impairments With processing disorders With limited local language proficiency With behaviour or developmental disorders With emotional or mental health issues

These children who are differently abled, need special or additional arrangements and should be paid attention to at all the 3 levels of Prevention - Preparation, Response and Recovery. A responsible Sneh Sathi should be designated to look into this aspect and every Sneh Sathi should be aware of the agreed plan.

7


The project head along with the team of Sneh Sathis should be accountable and responsible for ensuring that necessary and appropriate and prompt actions are taken to protect the children, Sneh Sathis and the organisation from any threat or hazard.

8


Section

2

Crisis, Situation and Prevention

The following crisis situations that can arise within the home or outside it, their effect on the home and its residents have been addressed in this section: 1.

Child Missing

2. Deaths 3.

Weapon in the home

4. Fire 5.

Natural disasters

6.

Bomb Treats

7.

Civil disturbance

8.

Medical Emergencies

9.

Sexual Abuse

1.

Child Missing

Sample Situations: A settled child (or children) runs away from the home, a child goes missing from the Sneh Ghar, a child goes missing from a picnic/hospital visit/repatriation journey, etc. or a child runs away or gets lost during an outstation trip. ••

•• ••

•• •• ••

To minimise this kind of crisis, ensure that all children are admitted to the Sneh Ghar after a thorough orientation to the Non-Custodial, open gates approach and of their free will. Clarify that if they wish to discontinue they can do so after informing the designated Sneh Sathi. Ensure frequent conversations with children are held to find out what ails them. Train Sneh Sathis to be vigilant and recognise signs of unrest in children. When a child whose has goes away without informing returns back to the Sneh Ghar, refer him/her to a counsellor to gently probe further into the reasons for the child to have taken this step. All visitors to the home should make an entry into the visitors’ book with time of entry, purpose and exit time. A guard should be posted at the gate. At least three copies of each child’s most recent photograph should be available readily in the Sneh Ghar.

9


•• ••

Keep trees trimmed and other parts of the building close to the wall under check. Have open discussions with all concerned parties to find out ways in which the campus can be made secure and the Sneh Sathis more vigilant.

Response •• •• •• •• •• •• ••

Try to locate the child in the neighbourhood or surrounding areas as soon as the disappearance is noticed. Speak with friends of the missing child (or children) and Sneh Sathis for information related to the incident. Notify the project head and provide a full description of the child (or children), including clothing, identifying features and information about the incident. Inform the social mobiliser. Provide any information that might be pertinent to the incident. Bring out a recent photograph of the child. Do not tear it from any existing record or register. Maintain a calm disposition while dealing with other children. The project head should decide whether the police needs to be intimated. If this is agreed upon, contact the local police immediately.

The following information about the child should be made available: •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• 10

A description of the child, identifying features like marks, scars, tattoos, and his/her clothing Age of the child The child’s legal status The circumstances of his/her going missing When the child was last seen and with whom A recent photograph Family addresses Known acquaintances’ addresses Any previous history of going missing/absconding Known indicators of risk to self or others Any circumstances which increase the risk to the child Efforts already made to locate the child Any medication the child is taking/details of medical condition State of mind at time of going missing Disabilities, if any Language difficulties, if any Any other information that may be relevant or helpful


In addition, •• •• •• ••

Inform the parents/guardians If the child has not been found and next day is a school day, inform the teacher/ principal about child’s absence Inform other Sneh Ghars that may house parents or siblings of missing child and who might provide information and support Inform the Child Welfare Committee

II. Deaths Sample Situations: A child, Sneh Sathi, volunteer or visitor- a. attempts suicide in the Sneh Ghar causing serious injury to oneself b. makes a successful attempt c. Gets grievously injured or dies accidently from falling off the roof or from an electric shock d. a death outside the Sneh Ghar, such as in a picnic, outstation visit, during a restoration trip back to the family e. a death during a family/home visit f. a child is attacked by another child and dies; a child is killed by a Sneh Sathi, or a child kills a Sneh Sathi. Prevention •• ••

Have prescribed places for storing dangerous objects like knives and other sharp objects, pesticides, medicine box etc. Train Sneh Sathis to be more vigilant, and recognise signs of unrest in children and of Sneh Sathis showing suicidal tendencies and/or anger management issues. If there is anyone with tendencies towards self-harm, suicide or violence, extend extra support and make appropriate life skills and mental health interventions.

Response •• •• •• •• •• ••

••

Provide first aid and immediately send the person to a hospital depending on the severity of the injury. Inform parents/guardians/family. Inform the project head, who will decide if the police needs to be intimated. If this is agreed upon, contact local police immediately. If the incident has occurred in the Sneh Ghar, treat the incident site as a crime scene. Secure the area until the police arrive. Provide the police with a full description of the child or staff, and information about the incident. Do not scold, hit, blame or threaten the perpetrator or victim child. Keep the other children away from the scene. They may also need to be kept away from the sight of the victims’ injury or dead, body. Some Sneh Sathis should remain with the children until further notice. Do not spread panic by discussing the incident casually with other children. Give them the basic facts. 11


••

•• ••

•• ••

Remove (and if required, repair) any device/building part that was used/caused the incident (equipment, wiring, parapet, railing, etc.) so the other children are not at risk. If the incident has occurred in a school, work with Sneh Ghar authorities to find out the reasons of death for the safety of other children. If the incident happens at a picnic or outstation trip, pacify the other children. Explain the incident and the safety measures to be adopted if it was an accident. Plan with the Project head about the continuity of the trip and further plan of action. Get information from the Sneh Sathis and other children who were present as to the cause of death. In case of a minor attempt at self harm refer to a counsellor. Try and rectify the situation that caused grievance to the child/adult. Be more watchful, involve other children to keep company so that the child/adult does not attempt suicide again, and can be reported immediately if s/he does. Keep away all dangerous objects that can be used again.

III. Report of a Weapon in the Home Prevention •• •• ••

Signs should be posted at the main entrance of each Sneh Ghar advising children and visitors that keeping/carrying of weapons in the home is prohibited. At frequent intervals, children should be asked to open lockers for mutual inspection. When new children are admitted, screen their belongings for any harmful objects. If found, keep them away and tell the children that it will be returned when the children leave the home.

Response •• ••

•• ••

12

If there is reasonable cause to believe that a weapon is present in the Sneh Ghar campus or within its safety zone, it should be reported to the project head. If a stranger is carrying a weapon, call the coordinator who should speak to the person. If a threat is detected, inform the Project head and the police and give them full details and descriptions of the situation. Make the notification discreetly so as not to alert the person (or persons) who is in possession of the weapon. Notify the Sneh Sathis inside the home. Do not allow the children to come where the person carrying the weapon is. Do not attempt to argue or disarm the individual in possession of a weapon.


IV. Fire Prevention •• •• •• ••

Monthly fire drills should be conducted. Fire extinguishers should be installed in central places in the Sneh Ghar. These should be clearly marked and easily identified. Sneh Sathis and children should be made familiar with the location and use of fire extinguishers. A fire safety audit should be conducted every month

Response •• •• •• •• •• •• •• ••

V.

Switch of the main electricity connection. Notify the project head of the emergency. Call 102 or the local fire brigade and give a full detailed description and location of the fire. Use the fire extinguishers. Till the reason of the fire is not ascertained, do not use water to douche the fire. If short circuit is the cause, using water could be fatal. Do not try to switch on or off any appliance at this time. If required, evacuate all children in an orderly and prompt manner. Take a headcount to ensure there are no missing children. Provide first aid to the injured children/Sneh Sathis. Send severely hurt children to the hospital for further treatment.

Natural Disasters

Prevention •• •• ••

••

••

Do an audit through appropriate civil departments at least once annually to determine the structural integrity and safety levels of the building that houses the children. If the building is determined to be unsafe in any regard, take corrective measures immediately. If the Sneh Ghar campus facilities are being shared with other organisations or government bodies for purposes such as schooling, voting, community meetings, etc. they should be made aware of the safety plan. Such groups should be requested to adhere to it. At locations with higher chances of weather hazards (e.g. costal areas), the Sneh Sathis, should be habitual to be alert to weather warnings for potential disaster situations. In house checks on preparedness for natural disasters should be held annually and practice drills should be held at regular intervals. 13


Response Sample1-Earthquake •• ••

•• •• •• ••

Exit the building, immediately if possible Alternatively, everyone in the building should crouch (under tables if possible) or kneel next to the interior walls and cover their head until the earthquake stops. Do not make children take cover under balconies, parapets, hanging plants, or heavy objects that might fall. Do not light candles/matches nor turn on any electrical equipment in the building until safety officials check the building. If outside the building when the earthquake begins, move children away from buildings, streetlights, utility wires and gas and electrical lines. Prepare for aftershocks following the earthquake. Do not create panic; calm the traumatised children, specially the very young ones and the ones differently abled. Take count of the children.

Sample 2-Flood ••

•• •• ••

Turn off utilities from the main switches, unplug all electrical appliances and avoid contact with electrical equipment. In all instances, submerged/downed power lines are to be avoided. Do not try to undertake repair work. If there is standing water in the home or campus, allow it to flow freely to avoid further structural damage. Project head should determine if the evacuation protocol has to be activated. While evacuating and transporting children, take alternate transportation routes to avoid flood-prone areas.

VI. Bomb Treats Bomb threats come in various forms, i.e. written notes, letters or phoned in messages. All threats should be taken seriously and handled with specific preparations and procedures. Response •• •• ••

••

14

In case of a telephonic threat, listen to the caller and do not interrupt. Ask the caller to repeat the message. Check the phone display and note the number from which the call came in. Note the time of the call. In case of written bomb threats, if no date or time is given in writing or if a stated time in the writing has passed before the writing is discovered, an evacuation assessment should be conducted. The project head will make the final decision, and determine a course of action. If the project head decides, call the police at 100 and give relevant information.


••

If the day, date and time are given, call 100, describe the writing, and evacuate the children.

••

During a bomb threat evacuation, suspicious packages should be reported to the coordinator immediately.

••

All cell phones should be turned off.

••

Do not lock the doors. Open access should assist in quicker action by the police.

••

Children and Sneh Sathis should take only those personal belongings that are in their immediate possession during an evacuation (including book bags/backpacks).

VII. Civil Disturbance A civil disturbance is any incident, including a riot, uprising or threats of violence, that will disrupt the normal routine in a Sneh Ghar. Prevention ••

If the Sneh Ghar campus is being used for purposes such as schooling, voting, community meetings, etc. then the respective groups should be made aware of the Sneh Ghar safety plan by the home staff.

••

Note down possible protest sites in the neighbourhood and be alert to the activities conducted there.

••

If a disturbance seems imminent or occurs, all outside entry doors, except front and main entrance, should be locked.

••

All Sneh Sathis should avoid verbal exchanges or arguments about the situation especially when a disturbance is escalating.

Response ••

If the violence infiltrates the home activate the lockdown procedure. Notify the project head at once. If agreed, inform the police of the situation and give any information on hand.

••

Sneh Sathis and children should remain under lockdown or evacuation protocol until the situation is resolved.

••

Attend to the children and ensure maximum safety. If possible provide first aid until relief arrives.

••

Secure the area as a crime scene. No blood or evidence should be cleaned or removed.

••

Provide names, descriptions of people identified as participants in the incident and gather the information to give to the police.

15


VIII. Medical Emergencies Prevention ••

•• •• •• ••

All Sneh Sathis should have had first-aid education as part of their induction training. The first-aider must have a basic understanding of what the vital body functions are and what the consequence would be if they were damaged or not functioning. First-aid kits should be adequately stocked at all times and should be accessible to all staff and anyone else who has received first-aid training. Have regular checkups to anticipate an impending illness. Sensitise children about the importance of good nutrition and building up immunity and resistance. The Sneh Ghar should maintain high levels of sanitation and hygiene and practice prescribed housekeeping techniques.

Response ••

The first-aider should be calm, observe the situation and assess it carefully, identify the nature of injury, condition or illness and act quickly depending on the conditions-

Life-threatening or potentially disabling: Such conditions can cause death or disability within minutes, they require immediate intervention, medical care, and, or usually, hospitalization. Examples of this category include breathing difficulties, cardiac arrest, chest pain, profuse bleeding etc. Serious or potentially life-threatening or potentially disabling: Burns, major multiple fractures, and insect bites are examples of this category. These occurrences may result in a lifethreatening situation or may produce permanent damage, so they must be treated as soon as possible. Non-life-threatening: These are injury or illness that may affect the general health of a person (e.g., mild or moderate fever, stomach ache, headache, fractures, cuts). These conditions need to be addressed as required. Following are some important points to keep in mind for any king of medical emergencies•• •• •• •• ••

Instruct a Sneh Sathi to call for medical help and immediately provide first-aid Avoid moving the ill or injured person, unless there is more danger if left there. Remain with the child/person until assistance arrives. Avoid crowding around him/her. Remain calm and help to calm down the other children in the Sneh Ghar.

The details of the range of medical emergencies is detailed out in the manual on Physical health, in the series of “Open Gates, Open hearts”, guidelines for care of children in Sneh Ghars, published by CES. 16


IX. Sexual Abuse Prevention ••

•• ••

•• •• ••

•• ••

Inform every Sneh Sathi, volunteer about the concept of child protection. They should have read and clearly understood the acceptable/unacceptable behaviours expected from them and signed the policy to confirm their allegiance to it. A child protection officer should be appointed in every home, who will have the duty to look into any cases of abuse immediately. A child protection committee should be in place for each home. Children should be familiar and comfortable with the members. The contact details of each should be displayed prominently in the home, with access to all children. Children should be familiarised with their fundamental rights, specifically “Right to Protection”. Children of all ages should have spaces to discuss and experience the freedom to have a voice in matters relating to their well being. Children should be provided age appropriate life skills and sex education, to dispel myths and to give them a realistic understanding of the body, its development, sexuality etc. Foster a healthy and respectful rapport wherein the children feel free and fearless to talk, report about uncomfortable, hurt full experiences. Ensure that the infrastructural arrangements ensure safety for all children at all times - Sleeping area is not cramped, Younger children and older ones sleep separately or have an adult with them, bathrooms , backyard, rooftop etc is well lit and manned during the nights etc.

Response When a child her/himself hints at/discloses abuse or a Sneh Sathi gets to know of abuse, a supportive, caring and prompt response is called for. Some immediate actions points are•• ••

•• •• •• ••

Assure the child that s/he did the right thing in sharing about the incident. A child who is close or frightened of the abuser may feel guilty about revealing the secret. Encourage the child/ren to talk freely about what has happened. Show that you understand and take seriously what the child is saying. Do not probe for minute details. But do find out when and where the abuse took place; how long the abuse has been going on; whether the situation has worsened. Listen carefully to the information provided and record it accurately as soon as possible in the child’s own words. Do not make judgmental comments. Do not to blame the child for the occurence. Promise that you will promptly take steps to see that the abuse stops. Do not panic or spread rumours. Keep Information confidential. 17


•• •• •• ••

If there is injury or trauma, get appropriate medical help. Refer the child to counsellor for emotional support. For a child or young person who discloses that he or she is currently being abused, the immediate priority is safety and protection from further abuse . It is a legal obligation of every Sneh Sathi to notify the Child Protection Officer about any instance of sexual abuse. This will be further report to the Program head who will, in consultation with the appropriate Sneh Sathis staff of the organisation is responsible for deciding whether there are grounds or to activate the Child protection Committee or to commence a criminal investigation .

The organisational action to be taken for abuse is detailed out in the document “Child Protection Policy” published by CES. Emergency management is a fundamental responsibility of a Sneh Ghar and prevention and preparedness and a sound response plan the key to its management. This may seem complex, challenging and daunting. but, as understood above not impossible. Effective emergency management importantly, requires collaboration at all levels - from the organisation’s senior officials, to project head, to the Sneh Sathis and the children themselves. Commitment from the organisation’s leadership is especially important to establish emergency planning as a top priority in the Sneh Ghar and integrating this planning with other policies and procedures. Collaboration must also extend outward from the Sneh Ghar to a range of stakeholders in the surrounding community and region.

18


Section

3

Crisis Communication

Communication Crisis situations are almost always characterized is by confusion and intense interest, both by persons involved directly in the situation and those external to it. People expect accurate facts about what happened, where, how and what is being done. Therefore it is important to inform the right people and the correct time about it with transparency, immediacy and accuracy. This section looks at and provides suggestions for communication both within the Sneh Ghars and through the organisation, and with external stakeholders in general. It outlines who should provide the necessary and appropriate information, to whom the information should be directed, and how it is to be disseminated. For good crisis communication keep the following in mind -

•• ••

••

•• •• ••

Honesty is always the best policy, transparency creates trust, so avoid being defensive. Most importantly, do not stonewall or refuse to provide information. However, since information at such times is incomplete and the facts are dispersed, it is important not to release information prematurely and only after being approved by the appropriate persons. Provide a succinct explanation of what has happened. This should be factual, neither exaggerated nor minimized. It should also include an expression of impact that the situation might have on child/ren, Sneh Sathis, Sneh Ghar, organization etc. A sincere apology, if warranted giving a sense of taking responsibilities for any missteps made. A commitment to identifying the underlying factors that caused this situation to happen and addressing them. An assurance of confidence that this situation does not reflect poorly on the intervention/ overall approach.

Ensure that the following are avoided •• •• •• •• ••

ixed messages from multiple persons M Information released so late that events make the issue moot Messages that are over-reassuring Incorrect and incomplete facts Leaving myths, rumors, unchallenged or corrected 19


Sneh Sathis who work with the children directly will be the first responders and therefore are key persons at the times of crisis. It is important to communicate to all Sneh Sathis Social mobilisers, Housemothers, Teachers, supporting Sneh Sathis, anyone who is engaged with the children and the crisis. This would also extend to volunteers who are on-site during an emergency or crisis situation. Brief the Sneh Ghar team immediately and review roles and responsibilities. Hold face-to-face meetings with groups of Sneh Sathis as soon as possible (i.e. teachers, supporting Sneh Sathis). Use telephone, internal e-mail to provide details to those not present for the meeting. Importantly, prepare Sneh Sathis for what and how and how much to say to children and others. Writing it down is always useful. The key people to be included in the communication loop during a crisis are1. Home In-charge What

• All situations

When

• As soon as a crisis is anticipated. • If unanticipated, as soon as the crisis happens.

How

• Face to face if present at the spot. • If not present physically, the quickest and surest way possible in the circumstances to reach them i.e. telephone, SMS, mail etc.

2. Program Head What

• All situations

When

• As soon as a crisis is anticipated. • If unanticipated, as soon as the crisis happens.

How

• Face to face if present at the spot. • If not present physically, the quickest and surest way possible to reach them in the circumstances i.e. telephone, SMS, mail etc.

3. Police What

When

How

20

• Situations that are legally mandated.(Abuse, child missing, deaths etc) • Those requiring intercity, interstate, inter country movement of the child. • Those requiring security cover for children/staff or home and or for crowd management. • Accidents/Medical conditions that are life threatening. • As soon as a crisis is anticipated. • If anticipated, as soon as the crisis happens. • In both cases the program head takes a call on the gravity of the crisis, who will assess the necessity of informing the police. Where police support is solicited, it should be done as early to the occurrence as possible. • Telephone • Face to face, Formal letter may need to be given later.


4. Family/Guardians What

• • • • • •

When

• With the family of the affected child, as soon as it occurs or parallel to while attending to the crisis. • With families of other children, information can be shared after immediate steps to handle reduce trauma, damage have been taken.

How

• Face to face • Telephone

Those impacting the long term educational, medical and social life of their child. Occurrences that have a legal implication. Major occurrences impacting other groups of children. Those that result in damage/repair infrastructural changes. Those that result significant changes in staffing. Those that impact the social standing of the Sneh Ghar.

5. Child Welfare Committee What

• Any situations impacting the short as well as long term medical, emotional, educational and social life of the child/ren. (Medical, abuse). • Those that require physical movement of a child/ren (to any place other than the Sneh Ghar, including to their own family).

When

• If there is foreknowledge, (such as children who are excessively suicidal, those who say that they do not want to stay in the home etc) should be presented along with the plan to address or resolve the issue. • If unanticipated, if possible parallel or immediate to the process to minimise the trauma, damage to the child.

How

• Telephone if event has occurred at night, out of station, or if a life changing decision has to be taken immediately. • Formal letter next morning.

6. Department of Education (Office of CRC, DORC, SPD, SSA) What

• • • • •

When

• After the crisis has been managed and the trauma, damage has been addressed.

How

• Email, formal letter

Those impacting the long term educational status of the child. Child/ren unable to attend school for more than a week Those that require physical movement of a child/ren. Major damage/renovation to the building. Those that require/illicit media response.

21


7. Donors and Board What

• Those that require/illicit media response. • Those impacting the long term future of the child/children. • Those impacting the utilisation of resources (money or large number of assets) contributed to by the donor. • Those impacting the credibility and social standing of the home/ organisation. • Those involving movement/shift of children for long periods of time. • Those requiring major changes/additions in the school/home building. • Those requiring major changes, re-shuffling of senior staff. • Those requiring interface with legal bodies other than those that are part of routine work. E.g.-district court and above

When

• In anticipated, inform with plan to prevent/address the situation • If unanticipated, after the immediate crisis has been managed and the trauma, damage has been addressed.

How

• Email and or Newsletter

Communicating with the Media Any of the situations discussed in the previous chapter can lead to an interaction with the media. There could also be situations in which children, parents or an ex-employee could approach the media with a supposed allegation. Media may also approach the organisation to do a story, document the work, ascertain an opinion in the context of a social or political development concerning an event or debate around a policy, etc. Any and all calls from the media (TV and radio) should always be referred immediately to the project head. Calls from the local print media regarding the Sneh Ghar should be handled by the home in-charge or designate only after prior consultation with the project head. During crisis/emergency situations, media access to the Sneh Ghars and facilities should be suspended or limited to ensure the safety of the children and Sneh Sathis, and to maintain order. However, the project head or director, police or fire safety in-charge may designate an area on the Sneh Ghar campus to conduct news briefings on the crisis or emergency situation. •• •• ••

22

ommunication must be accurate, timely, effective and consistent. C Explain what is being done to remedy the situation. Never respond with ‘No Comments’; instead explain why you cannot answer the question (i.e. we do not have those details confirmed at this time; we will provide you with an update when we do have an answer to that question).


•• •• •• •• •• •• •• ••

o not guess or speculate. If the answer is not known or unclear, say so and ask for D time to clarify Do not make loose comments on any case that is related to police investigation or one before the courts. If an injury or death has occurred, do not release the name(s) of the injured/deceased until all the next of kin (immediate family) have been notified. Do not provide damage estimates, discuss responsibility for the incident, or discuss legal liability in any way. Use everyday language, not jargon, when talking to the media. Provide written material that will give the reporters background information of the organisation. Never give exclusive interviews during a crisis. All members of the media should have a chance to gather information. In case the media request interviews with family members, provide a person to liaison with the family members and the media so that the family can protect their privacy if they choose. Communicating with children •• A ge-appropriate communication is the key with children. Sneh Sathis speaking with children should be briefed on the situation so that they can respond to questions and concerns. •• Consider announcements, if large assemblies and large group meetings are appropriate, specifically at the outset of a crisis. •• Give the children information about what to do and what to avoid, to ensure the crisis does not escalate further. •• Speak one-on-one or in small groups with directly affected children. •• Reassure children about their safety and provide physical and emotional support. •• During minor incidents, the child committee leaders could be asked to take the information across to the other children. A responsible adult should accompany them and supervise this directly. •• Discuss about talking to the media. Remind them that they can say “no” if they do not wish to talk. Ensuring the Privacy of Children The Sneh Ghar ensures the protection and privacy of every child/Sneh Sathi, and to this end remember the following:

23


•• D o not release any information that may reveal a child's identity to the media. •• Names of children should never be released under any circumstances without prior parental consent or the consent of the child if s/he is 18 years of age or older, unless there is prior clearance from the project in-charge. •• Names of victims are not to be released; media should be referred to the receiving hospital or police department for such information. •• No personal information or home addresses and telephone numbers of children, volunteers and Sneh Sathis should be released to the media without their consent or unless required by the law. •• General images of child/ren in which no one is identifiable do not require parental permission. In addition, the filming, videotaping and photographing of child/ren for classroom instructional purposes or for a purpose related to a co-curricular or extracurricular activity does not require parental permission. •• Identifying a child/ren by name in photo captions should be done only after obtaining the child’s and gaurdians consent.

Spokespersons The responsibility for determining a situation warrants an organisational response or a home-based response rests with the project head, who should be advised by the director in conjunction with other senior administrative staff, as appropriate to the situation. When more than one home or the system itself is affected by a crisis situation, the system, through the project head will manage the communication response. Some specific home incidents may also require this type of response. As a general rule, there should be only one spokesperson in order to ensure that a consistent message is provided. This should ideally be the project in-charge. However, additional spokespersons may be identified depending on the situation, the type of inquiries and the need for specific expertise to respond to questions or concerns.

Post Crisis Review Following an emergency there should be an evaluation of the crisis response, including the communication protocol. It will provide the Sneh Ghar and the organisation with useful information and help to improve crisis communication planning. Do a collective review along with other appropriate participants, which can include Sneh Ghar administrators, representatives from outside agencies and any others who can add to the review process, findings and possible recommendations for future activities and plans. It is important that documentation and notes made during the crisis are available to help guide the review. In 24


order to improve crisis management and communication, the following questions should be answered as shown in Fig.3:

Fig.1: Post Crisis Review – Pertinent Questions

25


Annexure Annexure-1

Crisis and Risk Assessment Worksheet This checklist will help to identify potential crisis/hazards that exist and mitigation measures that can be taken. Identifying these will provide useful information for planning and crisis management.

Hazard Type Tick the appropriate one :

Probability

1.

Highly likely (Near 100% in the next year)

2.

Likely (Between 10% and 100% probability in the next year)

3.

Possible (Between 1% and 10% probability in the next year)

4.

Unlikely (Less than 1% probability in the next year)

Is there a seasonal, temporal or any other kind of pattern? 

No

Yes (Specify when the crisis occurs): ____________________________

What out of the following will be the consequence?

Consequences

• Injuries • Minor and major disability • Loss of life/lives • Loss of license (SSA, CWC) • Building damage • Criminal prosecution of Sneh Sathis • Loss of credibility • Loss of donors/donations • Closure of home Rate the consequence in the following terms: 1. 2. 3. 4.

26

Catastrophic (more than 50% ) Critical (25% to 50% ) Limited (10% to 25% ) Negligible (less than 10% )


Circle one of the following: Time

1. Will happen with minimal or no warning 2. Will happen with less than a day’s warning 3. More than 24-hours warning List of preventive action points to be taken

Notes

People to be communicated with

Who

When

• • • • • • •

Board Director Project head Police CWC Family/Guardian/Siblings Local office of Department of Education, State government • Donors

27


Annexure 2

Lockdown Protocol If a situation arises that threatens the safety of children or Sneh Sathis, it may require the residents to remain in their rooms, or the home, with the exits and locked. During a lockdown, the following is important: •• N otify all involved of the start of a lockdown and the termination of the lockdown. •• If children are outside, they should be moved as quickly as possible back into their rooms. •• Visually scan the rooms and ensure anyone remaining in the corridors goes into their rooms. •• Check that no one is left in the bathrooms. •• Special needs children should be specially looked out for and be brought in to the designated lockdown area. •• Close and lock all doors. •• Do not allow any child to leave the room. •• Sneh Sathis should remain calm. Keep children in lockdown area until instructed otherwise. •• Assigned Sneh Sathi should remain with the children until the situation is resolved.

28


Annexure 3

Evacuation Protocol A situation may arise that requires the residents to be shifted out from the Sneh Ghar or room or the place of crisis. The primary objective of evacuation is to remove children and Sneh Sathis safely away from the projected area of danger, and, as far as possible, to maintain safety, security and order. The evacuation area should be a safe space at a minimum distance of 500 feet from the building. During an evacuation, the following points are important to note: •• E vacuate children in a quiet and orderly manner to a predetermined, designated location. Listen for any specific instructions and be observant of anything new, different or suspicious as you evacuate. •• Special needs children should be evacuated with other children to designated areas. Assistance to the evacuation site can involve pushing wheelchairs, leading children by hand and lifting children where necessary. •• Scan rooms, corridors, bathrooms, rooftops, etc. to ensure that no child has been left behind. •• No one should re-enter the building for any reason, unless authorised by emergency personnel. •• Keep a record of the attendance and take a roll book during any evacuation or evacuation drill. Account for all children immediately upon evacuating their class. •• Assigned Sneh Sathis should remain with the children until the situation is resolved. •• Monitor and maintain order until the situation is resolved.

29


Annexure 4

Responsibilities of a Project Head during a Crisis In an organisation level response, the project head will work with the board and administration to: •• O btain information on an ongoing basis as the crisis situation develops and collect relevant background material. •• Respond immediately to ensure the safety of the residents and the home. This may involve taking decisions to inform the police, fire brigade, activate the evacuation or lockdown protocol, evaluate the amount of additional support, if any, needed at the Sneh Ghar and send in more people for help etc. •• Provide information and messages to the Sneh Ghar and respond appropriately to inquiries. •• Advise the director, Sneh Ghar and senior administration and spokespersons on appropriate responses and communication processes to those involved. •• Draft and prepare key messages and communication (e.g. briefing notes, media releases, website messages, etc.), and serve as a primary spokesperson; and coordinate media briefings, interviews, etc. •• Identify spokesperson(s) and determine key messages, coordinate with outside agencies and organisations (e.g. police service, public health, and family and child services). •• Identify stakeholder groups to whom the messages will be conveyed (media, Sneh Sathis, children, parents/guardians, trustees, emergency services, general public, funders, etc.) •• Identify the types of communication methods to be used to inform stakeholders (media releases, statements, e-mail, website updates, Sneh Sathi meetings, letters to parents, etc.). •• Spearhead the evaluation of the response after the crisis is resolved.

30


Indradhanush Academy Rainbow Foundation India H. No. 1-1-711/C/1, Opposite Vishnu Residency, Gandhi Nagar, Hyderabad-80 Ph.: 040 65144656 Email: indradhanush.ces@gmail.com Website: www.rainbowhome.in / www.amanbiradari.org

Printed by: Print World # 9810185402

Emergency Protocol For Sneh Ghars

Emergency protocol  
Emergency protocol  
Advertisement