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Risky Business: Preparing and Staying Safe

Risk is a part of life. Natural disasters can strike at any time, so too can accidents, power outages, and pandemics. These things can happen whether we’re at work, or at school, or at home. Risk is an unavoidable part of life. And while we can’t stop it altogether, we can prevent it from happening and be prepared for when it does.

At Meadowridge School, we make great efforts to do just that. From first aid and wilderness training to emergency preparedness and animal safety, we sat down with some of the key health and safety team members to learn about just some of the ways we’re keeping our community safe. 

Meadowridge employee first aid & wilderness training

1 Wilderness First Responder
1 Advanced Wilderness First Aid
10 Wilderness and Remote First Aid
9 Emergency First Aid
4 Occupational First Aid, Level II

Duke of Edinburgh first aid & wilderness training

Reading a map
Route planning
Compass skills
Personal first aid
Using SOS devices
Contingency planning
Creating a gear list
Food and nutrition
Water purification
Fire building
Cooking and stove safety

 First Aid and Wilderness Training

First aid training is offered to all teachers and staff members. Available courses range from the one-day Emergency First Aid course to the multi-day Wilderness First Aid course.

“The courses are applicable to everyday life at school,” Mr. Willms explains, “but also for our field trips on campus and to more remote locations.”

Training helps teachers and staff members to anticipate and support a first-aid situation and is specific to a classroom setting. Teachers are encouraged to think not only about the injured student, but also their entire class. If they are tending to a student, who is watching their class? How can they make sure no one else becomes injured? These real-world problems help teachers to plan and anticipate all the things that could go wrong and prevent them from happening in the first place.

And because outdoor education is such a big part of our school’s culture, we involve not only teachers and staff members, but also students too. Trip safety and planning sessions and clubs are offered to students in Grades 8 to 12. A Duke of Edinburgh club is hosted for students aiming to achieve the award and supports them to plan their routes and adventures safely. Students learn basic first aid and are equipped with top-of-the-line gear and safety devices for their trips. “Shelter-building, cooking, and fire-building are all taught, but the best safety skills students will learn are how to have the right gear, a route plan, and the ability to make good decisions,” Mr. Willms nods. 

Emergency preparedness supplies

Hand crank radios
Solar charged lights
First aid tents
Portable generator
Cooking pots
Cooking stoves
Batteries and headlamps
Light posts

 Emergency Preparedness Planning

Throughout the year, our school community takes part in natural disaster emergency simulations, including earthquake and fire drills. The Health and Safety Committee, aided by a consultant, also assessed all our processes and physical equipment in the case of such an event. 

“They looked at our emergency protocols, our emergency inventories, and highlighted areas to improve,” Mr. Willms explains.

After receiving an in-depth report, the team decided to add to our emergency preparedness equipment, ensuring we have enough food, water, safety supplies and shelter for our entire school population for up to five days.
More than physical supplies, the Committee also assessed personnel, the “key players” who can be counted on in the event of an emergency. During a recent workshop, these members of our community met to work through different scenarios. Led by Ridge Wilderness, the group was challenged to come up with a plan and react to new, theoretical scenarios.