Operational Strategies for Establishing Disaster-Resilient Schools: A Qualitative Study
Introduction: Resilient schools can warranty students’ health and survival at disasters. It is obligatory that schools be prepared for natural challenges through local programs. Considering the great population of students, disaster-resilient schools can be a safe and suitable environment for students at the time of disaster. Objective: This study aims to identify certain operational strategies for establishing schools resilient to natural disasters. Method: This qualitative study was based on conventional content analysis. Using purposive sampling method, 24 experts in the fields of health in disasters, construction engineering, psychology, teaching, and administrative management participated in the study. Maximum variation sampling continued until data saturation was achieved. The data collected via unstructured interviews were analyzed with Graneheim and Lundmen’s conventional content analysis. Results: Content analysis resulted in four main categories as operational strategies for establishing disaster-resilient schools including: 1) “construction and non-construction optimization”, with four subcategories of construct risk management, optimization of construct architecture and physical structure, correct construct localization, and promotion of non-construct safety, 2) “promotion of organizational coordination and interactions” with two subcategories, namely improvement in intra-organizational communication and improvement in extra-organizational communication, 3) “improvement in education” with three subcategories of holding educational courses for families and students, holding educational courses for managers and personnel, and holding simulated exercises, and 4) “process promotion” with four subcategories of increased preparedness, correct planning, creation of organizational structure, and rehabilitation facilitation. Conclusion: Various factors affecting schools’ response to disasters form operational strategies to establish disaster-resilient schools. These strategies influence pre- and post-disaster preparedness. Awareness of these components followed by preparedness prior to disasters can save students’ lives, improve school performance after disasters, and aid in establishing disaster-resilient schools as safe lodgings.
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