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What's the plan Minister?

27 April 2006

What's the plan Minister?

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A major new classroom initiative to help kids survive a disaster fronted by a cartoon dog called Stan, has been launched by Civil Defence Minister Rick Barker.

‘What’s the Plan, Stan?’ is a curriculum based teaching resource for schools that uses role-playing, quizzes, an inter-active CDROM, stories and colourful cartoons to deliver messages about how to prepare for and survive tsunamis, earthquakes and floods.

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“It’s almost twenty years since the last teaching resource was developed and teachers have been asking for fresh, new material, and they were right to do so. The existing material was dated and not suited to young people, this new resources is both fresh and well suited to young people,” said Mr Barker.

“This Government has made ‘safe communities’ a priority and we are investing heavily in bolstering the civil defence sector, with more than $6 million allocated for public education alone in last year’s budget.

“’What’s the Plan, Stan?’ delivers the first return from that investment and what better way to start, than helping our kids understand the hazards and risks our environment holds and how they can survive them.”

The initiative, which has been developed with input from the education and civil defence emergency management sectors, includes a number of components, including:

- A teaching resource for schools based around a comprehensive handbook and CDROM;
- A website: www.whatstheplanstan.govt.nz ;
- Teacher training workshops.

“In New Zealand, we are constantly exposed to the risk of disaster,” said Rick Barker. “Experience around the world has shown that where people are aware of the risks around them and plan their response, the injuries, damage and subsequent trauma are significantly reduced.

“This campaign will not only give our kids the knowledge that will help them all their lives, but we hope they will take the messages they learn in class back home with them and make their parents and families aware of the need to be prepared in the event of a disaster.

"The importance of education for young people is a lesson well taught by the experience of the Boxing Day Tsunami. A young British girl, having gone through a programme such as this, knew the warning signs and knew what to do.

"Because of that knowledge, she was able to save her family and a large number of people from certain death. 'What's the plan Stan?' will certainly give our kids the edge in knowing what to do too," said Mr Barker.

ENDS

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