The safety of St Jude’s students, staff and visitors is in good hands.
For almost five years Andrew Hives, or ‘Sarge’ as he is affectionately known in St Jude’s circles, has coordinated Emergency Response Plans for all campuses and teaches evacuation education to students during annual visits to the school.
The Australian police officer said it was vital to bring St Jude’s into line with emergency management plans used in all Western schools, and said ‘Little Sarge’ has been on-hand to ensure that goal is achieved.
Little Sarge, a puppet with a wealth of safety knowledge, has helped Sarge get the message across in his classroom lessons since 2012.
“Knowing what to do in the case of an emergency is critical for the safety of all students, staff and visitors,” he said. “I started using Little Sarge in my evacuation training sessions with the Standard 1 classes and he proved to be an effective tool. The students got very involved with him. They remember the lessons because they remember Little Sarge.”
His newest addition, Fritz the Fire Dog, appeared in the line-up this year thanks to Cindy Skarbek, President of the American Friends of The School of St Jude board.
“I couldn't find Little Sarge when I came over this year and ‘Fritz’ (who was Cindy's son's childhood puppet) was brought over in case I couldn't find him,” the Senior Sergeant with Victoria Police and a Station Commander at Lilydale Police Station said.
“As it was, Little Sarge was found loitering in a brown paper bag on top of a cupboard in the Maintenance Office, which led to an increase in my puppetry repertoire!”
Sarge has also trained local staff member Reginald Mongi so that he can teach new students and staff members about evacuation policies between Sarge’s visits.
“I have known Reginald since I arrived in 2011, so it was a very easy to coach him through the instructional side of evacuation,” Sarge said.
“Reginald can also keep the teachers up to speed with things, as well as coordinate evacuation drills in my absence. He is also able to communicate with the new students in Swahili, which was always a tad difficult for me!”
We’re very thankful for our volunteers here at St Jude’s, and so fortunate to have people like Sarge return year after year to ensure everything is running smoothly.
In further efforts to get the message across, educational stickers have generously been provided by Lyndon Fire and Rescue in Louisville, Kentucky, Winston-Salem Fire Department, North Carolina and Country Fire Authority Victoria in Australia.
“The stickers promote good habits, regarding smoke in a room, the danger of fire, etc,” Sarge said. “They serve to reinforce the 'take-home' message for the students because they love stickers!”
We're launching a Short-Term Volunteer Program in January, 2016. Visit the school, see Tanzania's amazing wildlife and help our students. Find out more here.