Exploring the level of preparedness to fire risk in schools in South Africa: A case study of four schools in Kayamandi Township, Stellenbosch

Mugamu, Eunison (2018-12)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2018.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The overall aim of this study was to explore the extent to which under-resourced schools in Kayamandi, South Africa, are equipped to deal with fire risk. In order to achieve this, it was necessary that three objectives were met: firstly, international best practice for fire-safe schools was explored and compared with South African practice. International case studies included the state of Colorado in the United States of America (USA) and India, with South Africa being the focus of the study. Next, an attempt was made to measure the school staff members’ level of awareness of fire risk and fire emergency preparedness in Kayamandi Township schools: Makupula High, Kayamandi High, Ikaya Primary and Kayamandi Primary. Finally, there is a discussion of the challenges limiting the schools’ capacity to manage fire risk. The research findings illuminated the existing conditions regarding emergency preparedness in under-resourced schools in South Africa. These conditions revealed a lack of disaster emergency preparedness knowledge in teachers and low fire risk perception that has translated into lack of preparedness to fire risk in all Kayamandi Township schools. These findings can be used as a yardstick to get an idea of similar challenges in other developing countries. This research adopted a qualitative approach. The data was collected through interviews with school staff from the four Kayamandi Township schools, Stellenbosch Municipality Fire Services personnel and Stellenbosch Municipality Disaster Management Centre staff. Additionally, transect walks, government records, secondary sources and a safety audit checklist were used in the collection of the data. The results emanating from this study revealed that these schools are unprepared to handle a fire disaster. It was discovered that these schools do not have regular emergency fire drills as stipulated by South African law. The school staff were unaware of the precautionary measures necessary to protect learners in the event of a fire. It was clear that the source of their unpreparedness to fire risk is largely a reflection of their level of fire risk perception. Their fire risk perception is very low because there has never been a major fire incident in the schools. Consequently, efforts to manage fire hazards and enhance schools’ preparedness has become the lowest priority for the schools’ management, as these schools face many other challenges such as overcrowding and insufficient resources. The school authorities have, however, partly attributed their unpreparedness to insufficient resources as finances are devoted to student teacher support.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die algehele doel van hierdie studie was om die mate waartoe hulpbronbeperkte skole in Kayamandi, Suid-Afrika toegerus is om brandrisiko te hanteer, te ondersoek. Om dit te bereik was dit noodsaaklik om drie doelwitte te bereik: Eerstens is internasionale beste praktyk vir brand-veilige skole ondersoek en vergelyk met Suid-Afrikaanse praktyk. Internasionale gevallestudies het die staat Colorado in die Verenigde State van Amerika (VSA) en Indië ingesluit, met Suid-Afrika as die fokus van die studie. 'n Poging is aangewend om die skoolpersoneel se vlak van brandrisikobewustheid en brand noodvoorbereiding in Kayamandi Townshipskole te meet: Makupula Hoër, Kayamandi Hoër, Ikaya Laer en Kayamandi Laer. Laastens was daar 'n bespreking van die uitdagings wat die skool se vermoë beïnvloed om risiko te bestuur. Die navorsingsbevindings het die bestaande toestande rakende noodvoorbereiding in hulpbronbeperkte skole in Suid-Afrika verlig. Hierdie toestande het die gebrek aan kennis van ramprisikovermindering (DRR) en lae brandrisikopersepsie in onderwysers getoon, wat gelei het tot ‘n gebrek aan brandvoorbereiding in alle Kayamandi Townshipskole. Hierdie bevindings kan egter as maatstaf gebruik word om 'n idee van soortgelyke uitdagings in ander ontwikkelende lande te kry. Hierdie navorsing het 'n kwalitatiewe benadering aangeneem. Die data is ingesamel deur middel van onderhoude met skoolpersoneel van die vier Kayamandi Townshipskole, Stellenbosch Munisipale Brandweerdienspersoneel en Stellenbosch Munisipaliteit Rampbestuursentrumpersoneel. Daarbenewens is deursneedatawandelings, regeringsrekords, sekondêre bronne en 'n veiligheidsoudit kontrolelys gebruik in die versameling van die data. Die resultate uit hierdie studie het getoon dat hierdie skole onvoorbereid is om 'n brandramp te hanteer. Daar is ontdek dat hierdie skole nie gereelde noodbrandoefeninge, soos deur die Suid-Afrikaanse reg bepaal, het nie. Die skoolpersoneel was onbewus van die voorsorgmaatreëls wat nodig is om leerders in die geval van 'n brand te beskerm. Dit was duidelik dat die bron van hul onvoorbereidheid vir brande grootliks ‘n weerspieëling van hul vlak van brandrisikopersepsie is. Hul brandrisikopersepsie is baie laag omdat daar nog nooit 'n groot brandvoorval in die skole was nie. Gevolglik word pogings om brandgevare te bestuur en die voorbereiding van ‘n skool te verbeter, die laagste prioriteit vir die bestuur van ‘n skool, aangesien hierdie skole baie ander uitdagings soos oorbevolking en onvoldoende hulpbronne ondervind. Skoolowerhede het egter gedeeltelik hul onvoorbereidheid aan onvoldoende hulpbronne toegeskryf, aangesien finansies toegewy word aan student-onderwyser ondersteuning.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/104980
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