As we continually fight terror within and without our borders, it is clear that the war is not just physical. The information age has brought with it gross public misinformation about various issues in society, and key among them is security and safety awareness. In contrast, other segments of the public do not have any information regarding the same necessitating the need for a comprehensive discussion on public safety awareness across the various spheres.
Public safety awareness plays an integral role in enhancing the overall security of the country. It has been shown to prevent disastrous consequences during crimes of terror attacks. Additionally, research correlates public safety awareness with increased terror prevention. It essentially entails informing people about the state of security in the area, as well as arming the relevant individuals with the right information regarding the best practice to use in safety emergencies. Further, it enables people to know who to call in such situations and anticipate the appropriate response time. All this information acts as a weapon in case of an emergency as the conversant individuals know how to keep calm heads and help others in such situations. It is the government’s responsibility to ensure that its citizens have pertinent information that could potentially save lives.
There are various ways through which public safety campaigns can be implemented depending on the target audience. A good example is in institutions of learning which have been described as soft targets. If the Garissa University attack showed us anything it is that these facilities are not prepared at all. Hence, substantial investments should be made in spreading public safety awareness in schools. The students are young and impressionable and will be given useful information and practices that they can use through life. Therefore, we have the opportunity to raise a knowledgeable generation if efforts are made towards this end.
The workplace has been the target of the recent terror incidents which prompts investment into public safety campaigns targeting the same. The corporate work environment is filled with educated professionals that can quickly pick up beneficial information and practices. The government should pass appropriate legislation that requires such organizations to train their employees about the issue at least once a year. Accordingly, such individuals will have the right knowledge should anything happen.
An additional area that needs proper public awareness campaigns is the community level both, rural and urban — most people at the grassroots are subject to misinformation and ignorance which could potentially cost lives. Sensitization campaigns could help clear up myths and misconceptions about government operations, safety concerns, and relevant precaution measures. Appropriate routes the particular information can be spread through are the civic or religious avenues. The civic approach can entail the ‘chiefs barazas’ among other local gatherings. On the other hand, religious leaders could help educate their followers on the issue. Thus, the entire public will be aware of the current public safety trends.