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SUMMARY OF THE EARTHQUAKE PLANNING PROCESS
While the steps in this process are not necessarily consecutive, it is useful to think of the process as containing separate components. Each component can be tackled when you are ready, and as you address and complete a component you will have a sense of accomplishment. (The basic components correspond to the sections in this set of training materials.)
The planning process encompasses actions taken before, during and after an earthquake; it is not simply a matter of thinking about what you will do in the event of an earthquake. Actions taken before an earthquake can change how you behave in an earthquake, and actions taken beforehand can also affect how well you will be able to function after an earthquake. By identifying and removing certain obvious hazards in your classrooms, for example, you will be able to greatly reduce the possibility of injury.
By practicing what to do during an earthquake, you will increase the confidence of students and staff that earthquakes are survivable, manageable events. Thinking about how you can provide instruction after a damaging earthquake or how you will handle your students' psychological problems will help insure the continued regular functioning of your school.
"When school did start on Tuesday (after the earthquake), we were prepared to spend a part of a day or a better part of a day or all day if necessary in talking about the earthquake, what their experiences were, letting students express what happened either on paper, or in groups, act out, anything we could do to bring out those emotional issues ... In one school 20% of the homes in the school attendance area were damaged beyond use and some of them had burned down, so everyone had something to share."
James Baker, Superintendent(retired)
Pajaro Valley Unified School District
There are several basic elements to this process which are important to understand before you begin the planning:
- This is a group process. You as an individual will not be able to develop and implement a plan for your school. The group process enables you to share information among colleagues, gain support for the planning process and in fact generate excitement and interest for what you all may learn.
- Everyone will have responsibilities based on his/her job at the school. Instructional staff, for example, will be expected to maintain control of their classrooms, account for their students, direct their classroom drills and evacuation, etc. Administrators will be responsible for making school-wide decisions (the need for evacuation, the need to close the campus, communication of the plan to parents).
In addition, there are certain responsibilities that are related to the emergency that are specifically related to one's job--search and rescue and site security, for example. Thus some staff will have to be freed of classroom or office assignments so that they can fulfill particular emergency responsibilities. The following page summarizes the teams needed, and who might be on them.
- Training is an important part of the planning process. It helps staff become familiar with their responsibilities. In addition, it is critical for new staff who may not have been around at the time of the development of the plan.
"After this last earthquake (October 17, 1989), The District recognized the need for preparation, including more in-service training for every level of staff--administrators, custodians, site principals, teachers, classified staff."
Patricia Monson Member, Board of Directors
Oakland Public Schools
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School Earthquake Preparedness Guide - State of
Arkansas Office of Emergency Services, 1993