Bournemouth University empowers students to create positive community change

Bournemouth University (BU) graduate, Louisa Kitcatt, delivered an important crisis scenario for Brownsea Island, to help save the lives of visitors and staff. Louisa was tasked with creating an exercise tailored to consider the evacuation of visitors and staff from the island.

Louisa, who has recently completed her MSc in Disaster Management, said: “Having volunteered on Brownsea Island, I was able to use my knowledge to address areas of vulnerability on the island. I developed an interactive simulation exercise to examine the impact of woodland fires and practice the current evacuation plan for the island.”

Louisa’s exercise enabled National Trust staff to successfully identify strengths and weaknesses in their current emergency plan to improve their crisis management response.

Olivia Gruitt, Acting Operations Manager at Brownsea Island, stressed the importance of this simulation exercise for Brownsea Island; she said: “This scenario was based on real-life emergencies that have happened over the years so, therefore, it’s necessary to continue to train to respond to them. The exercise included the simulation of a rapidly spreading wildfire on Brownsea Island. Simultaneously, we had people landing in kayaks with dogs among other more realistic scenarios. It’s quite common for multiple events to happen at the same time, so this exercise kept us on our toes.”

BU encourages a unique way of learning by empowering students to create positive community change. Students working towards a master’s degree in disaster management are taught how to research scenarios and case studies, and then apply their knowledge, by creating realistic simulation exercises delivered using a unique simulation platform (Nest).

Richard Gordon, Director of Bournemouth University Disaster Management Centre (BUDMC), said: “All our postgraduate students study a wide range of scenarios during their MSc year. These include natural hazards, man-made disasters (including transportation and critical national infrastructure) as well as security threats, public health emergencies, and international humanitarian operations. BUDMC works closely with national and international organisations, as well as the business sectors, to help develop and test crisis plans.”

Bournemouth University looks forward to continuing to work with communities to support student learning, having welcomed new and returning students back to their campuses on 18 September.

Find out more about BU’s Disaster Management Centre

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