Truro School, Cornwall UK

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Disaster awareness activity day: sessions provided by Survival Wisdom at Truro School, July 2013

“The session started with the group being split into 5 subgroups, each looking
at a designated, contrasting country. We then had to think of any dangers,
potential disasters and risks which could occur in these countries. This
enabled us to realise that even here in the UK there are risks which perhaps
people are not aware of, and this caused an interest in the subject to be
raised and the group soon became engaged.

Richard then went on to talk to us in some depth about the psychological
variation of those affected by natural disasters. This involved personal
experiences being shared as well as pictorial scenarios being shown and
group involvement to discuss what different people were doing in the disaster.
This was followed by clarification from the group leader defining these
reactions and why people respond to disasters in that way.
Overall, the session was relevant, interesting and engaging. It allowed the
students to be educated and made aware of potential risks when travelling
abroad on gap years, or even on a day to day basis in the local community.”
Harry Lobb – Sixth Form Student

“The talks given by Richard Pyshorn and John Hudson were contrasting in
styles but both very effective at getting mixed groups of students aged
between 11 and 18, as well as the adults present, really thinking about what
natural threats do exist and how normal human reaction to them falls into
certain categories each of which can greatly affect an individual’s chances of
survival.

By drawing on student’s own experiences and their stock of relevant
anecdotes Richard and John conveyed a sense that if you are aware of
potential dangers then you can mitigate both against being caught up in them
and react more favourably if the worst does happen. Understanding that a
negative or futile responses is normal can help one to ‘snap out of it’ and start
managing the situation in a productive way rather than entering a downward
spiral from which there is little chance of escape or rescue.

Bringing the concepts home by referring to ‘everyday’ threats such as car
accidents, floods and talking about ‘Gap Year’ preparation as well as exam
and job interview pressures, rather than just focussing on major disasters from
overseas, allowed the students to understand the relevance of the topic to
their lives and will hopefully prepare them better for much of what life will
throw at them.

Richard and John are both clearly vastly experienced, highly knowledgeable
and were very well prepared for the sessions. Their delivery was informative
and allowed students many opportunities to become involved and consider
their own responses to a situation. The day was certainly valuable and if just
one student present one day remembers some of what was said whilst caught
up in a genuine ’life or death situation’, could yet prove invaluable!’

Stephen McCabe – Teacher Truro School

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