The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between participation in hazard education programs and levels of hazard awareness, risk perceptions, knowledge of response-related protective behavior and household preparedness.
A questionnaire examining various measures including participation in hazard education programs, risk perceptions and household preparedness was delivered under teacher guidance to high school students in three different locations in the Taranaki Region of New Zealand.
Students who have participated in hazard education programs are more likely to have better knowledge of safety behaviors and higher household preparedness. However, even with hazard education, some aspects of hazard awareness and the uptake of family emergency plans and practices were found to be poor. Overall, hazard education was found to be beneficial and helps to create potentially more-resilient children and communities.
This study gathered information from students from Taranaki, New Zealand, regarding levels of hazard awareness, risk perceptions, knowledge of response-related protective behavior and household preparedness, and assesses whether there are differences in these factors between the three locations and students who have and have not participated in hazard education. This purpose of this evaluation is to determine whether students who participate in hazard education have better awareness of hazards in their area, have more reasonable risk perceptions and are better prepared than students who have not participated in hazard education programs.
This study has shown that students who have participated in hazard education programs have better knowledge of safety behaviors and report higher levels of household preparedness. Hazard education was found to influence students’ hazard awareness and risk perceptions for some hazards, however awareness and risk perceptions of more salient hazards such as flooding remain poor. Household emergency plans and practices were reported to be uncommon and the numbers of students reporting having plans and participating in practices were unaffected by hazard education. Overall, Taranaki students who have participated in hazard education programs are likely to be more resilient in the event of a disaster because of their better knowledge of safety behaviors and higher household preparedness. However, levels of resilience could be further increased if aspects of hazard education programs, such as reviewing all hazards Taranaki is subject to, and encouraging students to develop and undertake family emergency plans and practices, were to be incorporated or revised. This study has established that hazard education in Taranaki schools has been beneficial, and that programs should be continued and children encouraged to participate in them.