School safety and emergency preparedness in Saudi Arabia: a call for effective action

Ali S. R. Alsubaie


Accidents and injuries are a growing global public health problem. Both accidents and injuries can happen anytime and anywhere. Children and school personnel might experience medical emergency situations because of injuries, complications of chronic health conditions, or unexpected major accidents that occur in schools. A safe learning environment is essential for students, and without it they are unable to focus on learning the skills needed for a successful education and future development. There are about 6 million children younger than 18 years living in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Regrettably, many accidental tragedies occurred during the few last years in schools in Saudi Arabia which caused many forms of injuries and death among children and school teachers. Unfortunately, most schools lack a health care professional to respond to school medical emergencies. It is essential to believe that there is a fundamental link between emergency preparedness and disaster response. Therefore, schools that are prepared for an emergency are more likely to be prepared for complex events such as major fire, injury related accidents and natural disaster. The quality of schools about safety management and emergency preparedness is far worrying in Saudi Arabia. Thus, there is a need in creating a ‘‘culture of safety’’ and realize that injuries prevention and safety promotion are everybody’s business. The time has come to develop effective injury prevention strategies and promote safety that can help reduce the impact of injuries on the health of the Saudi population, economy and health care system. The issue of school safety must be a major concern at all levels of government. Efforts should be made to increase the education of school personnel in the assessment and management of safety and life-threatening emergencies, particularly head injury, cardiac arrest, suffocation and fire events.


Emergency, Injuries, Safety, Public health, School health, Saudi Arabia

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