Bridging the generations : a critical assessment of disaster education in the development of a 'seismic safety culture' in Iran
A disaster risk reduction strategy which seeks to develop a "Seismic Safety Culture" can
not be successful unless it raises public awareness of the earthquake threat and its
associated risks. Education concerning earthquakes, and the risks they pose has become
a central element in the Iranian national strategy for hazard reduction. This research
study has focused on school safety awareness programmes in Tehran - the capital city of
Iran, located in one of the most active tectonic parts of the globe, with many large
earthquakes during recent decades.
Evidence consistently demonstrates that in societies where disaster awareness and
education are implemented, people become more resilient to the consequences of
disasters. Therefore, in this study, it is hypothesised that the education of children is a
crucial element in earthquake public awareness programmes and plays a key role in
increasing the public knowledge and awareness of earthquakes in Iran.
Various stakeholders participated in this research, including parents, teachers,
headmasters, experts, policy-makers and key informants. Together they provide an
overview of current and potential future earthquake education and its effectiveness.
Additionally, the research project considered the suitability and effectiveness of various
tools employed in earthquake education for children ranging from preschool (5-7 year
olds) to school children (10-12 year olds).
The absence of previously documented studies in this field, presented both the key
challenges and opportunities in this research project. As limited baseline and background
data exists, there is therefore an unconstrained spectrum of opportunities and possible solutions available for consideration.
Within the necessary limitations of the study, the findings as described and analysed in
this dissertation firmly support the hypothesis: "The education of children formr a crucial
elementin earthquakep ublic awarenespsr ogrammeri n Iran" and as a corollary that "Disaster
education of children plays a key role in increasing the public knowledge and awareness of
earthquakes". The study findings therefore present a strong case for the development and
implementation of appropriate education programmes and emphasise the need to
provide adequate capacity building and sustainability in the support and implementation
of such vital programmes.