In recent days, we have all been reminded that California’s relatively quake-free last two decades is the exception, not the norm. Disasters like the two major earthquakes that struck near Ridgecrest, CA last week can have a powerful effect on our communities. With this shaking at the front of everyone’s minds, we first wanted to refresh everyone’s memory on what you should do in the event of an earthquake. We'll start with basic tips, and then move on to what schools can and should do specifically. If you prefer videos, you can begin with our explainer below!
- Always, always, always, “Drop, Cover, and Hold” when an earthquake occurs. The most important thing you can do is cover your head and neck!
- If you’re in a vehicle, pull over to the side and stop.
- If you’re outside, stay outside.
- Don’t go for the doorway. It’s genuinely not any safer than any other part of your house. Find some cover (like a table) near you instead of trying to move to a new location during the quake.
- Do NOT run outside during the earthquake. When shaking stops, take stock of your situation and consider swiftly and calmly exiting the building.
While it can be unpleasant or unsettling to think about, it is critical to examine and improve your own school community’s preparedness in responding to an earthquake. Here are some steps we recommend taking in the next few weeks and months to increase your school’s preparedness!
- Review your Emergency Operations Plan to ensure it is up to date.
- Use the summer weeks to conduct and inventory of your campus emergency supplies to check quantities and expiration dates, test the functionality of equipment, and to order new supplies as needed.
- Conduct an earthquake drill in the next few days, even if you have limited staff on campus. This will remind individuals of protocols and best practices for earthquakes.
- Begin scheduling your emergency drills for the entire school year, to ensure they happen regularly and are in compliance with city/state regulations.
- Check your own home emergency kits, and encourage families to do the same in order to be prepared for an emergency that occurs outside of regular school hours.
- Consider how your Business Continuity plan would allow you to maintain operations following an emergency. What are the potential gaps or weaknesses in the plan?
Again, these conversations are not easy, but they are important. It is always difficult to witness how communities are affected by serious emergencies such as these, as well as an important reminder that disasters can happen at any time.
If your community needs support of any kind in this planning or preparedness, please reach out to us at Joffe. We are a resource for you to utilize!
We also encourage you to use this opportunity to prioritize other emergency trainings (with Joffe or in-house) that you may want to provide your faculty and staff throughout the school year, and set aside calendar dates early if possible.