Schools are critical infrastructure entrusted with the responsibility of creating citizens of tomorrow. A safe and secure environment is a prerequisite for effective teaching and learning. Thus ensuring safety of children, teachers and staff members during disasters is necessary. In the light of recent tragedies involving school children, like the Kumbakonam fire tragedy, Dabwali fire incident and earthquakes around the world where school children were affected due to unsafe school buildings. It becomes of utmost importance that safety of children is given due consideration, thus making schools safe also serves the purpose of their dual use as evacuation centers during emergencies.
Building safe schools should be a priority for architects, engineers, policy makers, administrators and emergency response planners. Among all public facilities, children in schools are the most vulnerable during disasters. A large number of schools operate in congested urban centers and are exposed to various hazards. School safety includes within its ambit structural safety of the buildings per se and non-structural measures like awareness generation, ensuring communication, school preparedness plans, capacity building of students and teachers, rehearsals and mock drills etc. Building safe schools will not only ensure safety of children in disasters, but will also promote faster rehabilitation post disaster.