Disaster prevention literacies: Assessing the knowledge, skills and attitude of Taiwanese students for an earthquake disaster, pp. 5 of 7

The other question to test students’ disaster prevention skills is to ask students how they take actions when they were outdoors and felt earthquake tremors without the supervision of any teacher or parents. All participants reached the correct answer: “I would move to a clear area where there are no nearby trees and buildings.” Given that all participants could state the appropriate measure of moving “to a clear area where there are no nearby trees and buildings,” the initial assumption that these young Taiwanese students would be able to state the correct measure, given that much emphasis has been placed in the school curricula to equip them with disaster response skills, is true.

Students’ attitudes

In the attitude section, students were asked if and how they think about an earthquake after it occurs (Figure 4). 24 participants (80%) stated that they thought about the earthquake after it has occurred. Among the 24 participants, 4 participants (13.3%) stated: “I think about the earthquake sometimes” and 20 participants (66.7%) stated: “I often think about the earthquake. I fear that it may happen again.” The remaining 6 participants (20%) stated: “No I do not. I carry on with my daily life as if the earthquake never happened.” Although most of participants pay attention to the earthquake, the 6 participants should be a cause for concern. These participants can be treated as people who potentially have a poor attitude about earthquake disaster prevention, and do not worry about the disaster even after it has occurred. Such poor “disaster prevention attitudes” might be an indication of a lack of motivation amongst these groups to prepare themselves with the necessary knowledge and skills for a future threat (Izadkhah & Hosseini, 2005). While students expressed that they “do not think about the earthquake, as if it never happened,” this statement should be interpreted with caution. This is because students may suppress unpleasant events that have occurred, or hesitate to answer honestly and show some amount of fear (Panić, Kovačević, Miljanović,  2012). As a result, it is important to consider to what extent the lack of awareness of the disaster could be a sign of poor attitude towards earthquake disaster prevention.

  • The other question in the attitude section examined if students wanted to learn more so they can better prepare themselves for a future earthquake. All participants ticked ‘Yes’ and expressed that they would like to learn various combinations of the following factors (Figure 5):
  • How to check for the tell-tale signs that an earthquake is coming.
  • Where the nearby safe buildings and outdoor areas are from my home so that I know where to evacuate to during an earthquake.
  • Which emergency authorities to contact and how to contact them during an earthquake.
  • How to give first aid in case there are others around me in need.

Among the four factors, “knowing where nearby safe buildings and outdoor areas are to evacuate to” and “how to give first aid” were what most participants wanted to learn. 24 participants (80%) wanted to learn in each of these respective domains. 19 participants wanted to learn how to “check for tell-tale signs” of an earthquake (63.3%) and 7 participants wanted to learn “which emergency authorities to contact and how.”

An Inspiring Quote

"[Open-mindedness] includes an active desire to listen to more sides than one; to give heed to facts from whatever source they come; to give full attention to alternative possibilities; to recognize the possibility of error even in the beliefs that are dearest to us."

~ John Dewey, How We Think

Newsletter Subscription

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up-to-date with new journal issues!