Honeywell Safe Schools Program to ‘Stay Alert, Be Safe’ drive in East Delhi

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New Delhi: SEEDS (Sustainable Environment and Ecological Development Society) as a part of its Honeywell Safe Schools Program organized a community drive at Shastri Mohalla near RSBV School Patparganj, East Delhi to create an awareness in the community about earthquakes, risks involved and ways to be prepared to mitigate risks.

Delhi, the capital city of India, is surrounded by the Indo-Gangetic alluvial plains in the North and East, by Thar Desert in the West and by Aravalli hill ranges in the South. Considering its location, Delhi falls under Seismic Zone – IV, making it highly prone to earthquakes.

Across the city, East Delhi area falls under the ‘high hazard zone’ having a low ground level because of the proximity to the Yamuna which makes the foundations of buildings weak in this region. The schools in East Delhi district particularly are more prone to natural hazards due to poor quality of construction and total lack of earthquake resistant design considerations. Secondary data points highlights that 53% schools are at highest risk from earthquakes, including all 624 in East Delhi. 316,321 students in East Delhi are at risk, as their schools fall in the Yamuna flood zone and 725 Delhi schools lack playground/open space for evacuation.

The earthquake awareness drive was organized at Shastri Mohalla in East Delhi, with the involvement of SMC’s (School Management Committees) who act as a link between parents and school members. The ‘Stay Alert, Be Safe’ drive was carried out with members of the community along with Honeywell volunteers and SEEDS team. Via interactive show and tell activities like earthquake safety exercise wherein the team demonstrated the right and wrong practices to be followed in case of an earthquake.

As a part of the awareness drive, a shake-table demonstration was carried out to explain the effects an earthquake can have on structural and non-structural elements in a home. This was followed by a non-structural mitigation demonstration, wherein, the non-structural elements such as almirahs and shelves were fixed to the wall using screws and brackets emphasizing the importance of keeping exit routes of any home clear from such blocking hazards at the time of an earthquake.