School prepares supplies, plans in case of emergency

Rita Chidbachian

Being prepared for an earthquake is essential, especially when living in California. News of the 8.0 earthquake is gradually becoming a reality thus having people getting ready with emergency kits.

“I’ve done absolutely nothing yet but I’ve been planning to go to the market and stock up on emergency food and water.” junior Eric Flowers said.

Principal Deb Smith shows junior Rita Chidbachian the school’s supplies that can be used during emergencies. Photo by Monica Hernandez
Principal Deb Smith shows junior Rita Chidbachian the school’s supplies that can be used during emergencies. Photo by Monica Hernandez

With the recent earthquake in Nepal, it is important that schools are prepared in the event of a disastrous earthquake. The school’s emergency plan is quite simple since the district already has a plan laid out for LAUSD schools. All the staff at school really needs to do is to look at what they need in terms of personnel. Which people can do the different tasks after an earthquake and the locations and where either the meeting spot will be or supplies will be kept.  For example, if the nurse was not on campus during an earthquake, then a staff member  trained for first aid would take control of the nurse’s position.

The primary thing that teachers have to figure out is how to get students out of the classrooms to the evacuation area and do it in a safe fashion. So if anything falls down it’s not going to fall on top of the students. Then they have to go through the buildings room by room to make sure nobody is left behind.

Once they get that taken care of then people sit around, waiting for either the end of the drill or if it’s an actual earthquake, waiting for the decision to be made that students and faculty can reoccupy the buildings or if they can start sending people home. Then, the staff must wait until the parents show up to release every student.

Each classroom is equipped with a black emergency bucket. Inside every bucket has sanitary napkins, toilet paper, rubber gloves, cat litter and cleansing towelettes for toiletry needs. Emergency blankets, duct tape and biohazard waste bags are also included in the bucket.

We have to take care of the people who are still alive.”

— Principal Deb Smith

“We’ve got everything you need to turn this into its own little portable bathroom,” science teacher Stephen Schaffter said. “However we’ve got interior bathrooms in all the classes. If we had a lockdown the kids can use the bathroom in my room.”

Besides being limited to the classroom buckets, there are three large storage containers filled with emergency supplies located in the front of the school. Two of the three storage bins contain  wheelchairs and crutches if someone is injured. There are also fire extinguishers, flashlights, ropes and helmets for the search and rescue team. Paper towels, solar blankets, gauze, diapers and latex gloves are for medical supplies, diapers used for deep wounds.

There is also a gas powered generator if the campus has a power outage. The third bin has 11 barrels of drinking water, enough to keep all the students and staff hydrated for three days.

“We’ve got all the supplies you need to form a full search and rescue team. If someone was injured and stuck inside a building they can provide that person help,” Principal Deb Smith said.

In Oct. 2014 all schools in California participated in the Great California Shakeout drill. This drill is meant to prepare students and staff for when an actual earthquake occurs. Students evacuated out of their classrooms to the front of the school as they should in the event of a real emergency.

“However if God forbid someone gets killed during an earthquake we can’t do much about that,” Smith said. “We have to take care of the people who are still alive.”