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I. Earthquake Preparedness

In 1989 the state legislature passed ACT 247, sponsored by Representative Owen Miller, that established a state Earthquake Preparedness Program with the purpose of charging the Office of Emergency Services, Earthquake Preparedness Program, with the responsibility of carrying out the Earthquake Preparedness Program requiring the full cooperation of all other state and local government agencies, departments, offices and personnel and requiring that all earthquake mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery related functions of Arkansas be coordinated to the maximum extent with comparable functions of the Federal government including its various departments and agencies with other states and localities, and with private agencies of every type, to the end that the most effective earthquake mitigation, preparation, response and recovery capabilities may be accomplished.

"We found alot of new people there. And actually they were commuters who were trapped between road closures ... Those people were looking for a place of safety so they came here ... Within about an hour we had maybe 200 commuters and local residents whose houses were destroyed... So that night we probably had 200 commuters, probably 50 children and maybe another 50 adults that we housed. And most of them were in cars or out on the turf with absolutely no sleeping bags or anything like that."

Kenneth Simpkins, Superintendent
Loma Prieta Joint Elementary School Dist., Los Gatos, CA

II. The Damage Assessment Process

It is apparent that school districts will have a great deal of difficulty in evaluating damage assessment of their school buildings. Such an ability is very important in determining whether or not a school structure is safe to have students, faculty, and staff re-enter after an earthquake, especially in view of the after shock potential in the New Madrid Fault. Each district is encouraged to pre-arrange post earthquake evaluation services with a local structural engineer if one is available.

(See Appendix I - Post-Earthquake Damage Evaluation.)

"In thinking about our preparedness (on October 17, 1989) 1 think that we missed the boat totally because we had no idea whether the buildings were structurally safe to reoccupy, and we had no checklists to make that determination."

Kenneth Simpkins, Superintendent
Loma Prieta Joint Elementary School Dist. Las Gatos, CA

III. State Department of Education

On May 26, 1989 quoting ACT 247 of 1989 the Director of the Department of Education in the Director's Regulatory Memo No. 89-18 emphasized the Department's responsibilities in providing "full cooperation in the order that the most effective earthquake mitigation, preparation, response, and recovery capabilities may be accomplished. "

During 1992 the Governor's Task Force on Student Discipline and Safety strongly recommended that "the Arkansas Department of Education. develop guidelines for earthquake safety in schools."

Dan Lovelady, Coordinator, School Plant Services, Department of Education is in charge of coordinating these guidelines and can be reached at (501) 682-4261, FAX (501) 682-4466.


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School Earthquake Preparedness Guide - State of Arkansas
Arkansas Office of Emergency Services, 1993