Willway elementary principal Jane Penn shows off student comfort kits prepared by parents in the event of a natural disaster.

Finding comfort in disaster

Toys stocked alongside food for school emergency preparedness

Toys stocked alongside food for school emergency preparedness

Should disaster strike during the school day, Willway elementary kids at least will have some comforts of home.

The school grounds hosts a large metal storage container, the go-to spot for resources such as blankets and toys — essential gear for young kids traumatized by an earthquake, for instance.

Part of the emergency resources are small personalized kits of love assembled by a child’s parents.

Kits include such practical items as non-perishable food and foil blankets. But usually in the mix are treasures of emotional comfort, such as favourite toys, candy, family photos and stuffed animals.

“If there is a tragedy then (students) have a photo and a stuffy,” said Willway principal Jane Penn.

Willway school has had equipment in case of emergency for years, but Penn introduced individual student comfort kits about three years ago, when she joined the school.

“I just enhanced the program,” she said.

A former master corporal in the army and trained in emergency preparedness — “I was trained to live in the bush and to build shelters,” she says — Penn knows the importance of having all manner of emergency gear in place.

She was teaching at a school in the Philippines in 1989 when an earthquake struck. She recalls the ground shaking and evacuating her students from the building.

“It wakes you up,” Penn said. “What happened in Japan has put this in the forefront for me. Hopefully we never to use this, but if we do I feel we are prepared to take care of the children.”

About 80 per cent of Willway students have brought comfort kits to school, and she’d like to get that up to 100 per cent.

Alongside toys and comfort kits, the emergency container holds enough food, mostly Kraft dinner and granola bars, to feed 200 students for one day.

The Willway parent advisory council bought most of the supplies including flashlights, first aid kits, tarps, axes, ropes and a barbecue.

“We really are on the fault line,” Penn said.

More than half of the elementary schools on the West Shore also run a comfort kit program including Colwood, Crystal View, David Cameron, Sangster, Happy Valley and Wishart.

reporter@goldstreamgazette.com

 

 

Just Posted

Number of SD62 kindergarten registrations about same as last year

Approximately 850 kindergarten registrations for 2019/2020 school year

28 years later: Dunahee disappearance remains largest investigation in Victoria police history

The four-year old Victoria boy went missing without a trace on March 24, 1991

City of Langford mails out information on sewer connection requirement

Plan lays out obligations, exemptions and financial assistance information for the costly hookup

Update: BC Transit driver taken to hospital with serious injuries after assault

Driver attempted to stop an altercation between two people on the bus

Protective human chain forms around Victoria mosque for Friday prayer

Islanders stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

‘Families torn apart:’ Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash gets 8-year sentence

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

POLL: When do you think the next major earthquake will hit Vancouver Island?

According to seismologists, Vancouver Island is overdue for a magnitude 7 earthquake.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

WestJet sticking with Boeing 737 Max once planes certified to fly

WestJet had expected to add two more of the planes this year to increase its fleet to 13

B.C. driver caught going 207 km/h on motorcycle along Okanagan Highway

A motorcyclist was caught by Kelowna RCMP going 207 km/h on Highway 97C

Motorcyclist dies after three-vehicle crash on old Island Highway

Accident happened at 12:15 p.m. Friday near Country Club Centre in Nanaimo

B.C. fire department offers tips to keep your home safe during wildfire season

With wildfire season getting closer, the Penticton Fire Dept. offer tips to keep your home safe

Most Read