Your school or district should not prepare for earthquakes separately from other potential hazards. Collaborating with community partners to develop plans and protocols to prepare for the possibility that the identified hazards, vulnerabilities or emergencies will occur. Working closely with first responders and community partners to effectively contain and resolve an emergency in, or around, a school or campus.
If you are in an area where earthquakes are frequent, you likely have already included earthquakes in your overall emergency plan.
Because of differences between the structure of the earth under western states compared to central and eastern states, earthquakes in the west shake smaller areas than similarly-sized earthquakes to the east. While your buildings may be well-built and have very little damage in an earthquake, your school may still be unable to resume operations due to damage to utility systems (power, water, gas, communications), hazardous material spills, and other issues beyond your control. Some states have special guidelines for public school construction, yet requirements for private or charter schools may be less strict. School building collapse is certainly a major concern requiring long-term planning and investment toward prevention. By following these protocols, schools will support the efforts of first responders and local emergency managers.
Alongside school implementation of NIMS, your plan should include making arrangements (in advance!) with structural engineers or contractors to report to your school to help determine the severity of building damage. Schools often include building evacuation as a part of their earthquake drill, since assembling in a common area after an earthquake will be the best way to account for students, prioritize first aid and triage, and conduct search and rescue. Because your school's water supply may be out of service for many days, emergency water is a very important item to consider when preparing for an emergency. In an emergency, you will need an area for a latrine if toilets are not working because the water supply is out or if bathrooms are not accessible. Working closely with first responders and community partners to effectively contain and resolve an emergency in, or around, school facilities.
As soon as an earthquake begins to shake your school, your emergency planning is put into action. In managing educational facilities, the most important aspect of earthquake response is preventing injuries and deaths due to structural or building contents. The photo on the left below is a school in Calexico, CA, showing how ceilings will collapse in pieces, but desks provide shelter. The Earthquake Country Alliance (California) has developed a special report on what to do during earthquakes, and what not to do. Once the earthquake has happened and the shaking has stopped, then your plan will likely include evacuating classrooms and administrative offices to central assembly area(s), wherever you go for fire drills. After shaking stops, assess your room for any dangers (broken glass, fallen items, fire, chemical spills, etc.).
Once to the assembly area, quickly advise search and rescue teams to return for those who did not exit with the class.
Instruct students so they know that if there is an earthquake when they are outside of a classroom (such as during break or lunch), they should exit with the nearest class and should NOT go back inside. Fires often start in the aftermath of an earthquake because of ruptured gas lines, the content of rooms, things left cooking on the stove, and electrical fires. After this basic training, establish a Fire Suppression and HazMat Team to respond in the event of an earthquake or other emergency. Your school's emergency plan is a living document; changes in staff, facilities, and your local community should prompt updates to your planning process and facilitate practical training.
Know where your emergency supplies are located, make sure they are sufficient for your needs, and are not expired. This manual is intended to provide guidance for the protection of school buildings from natural disasters. Presents an international framework of guiding principles and general steps to develop a plan to address the disaster resilient construction and retrofitting of school buildings.
FEMA 395 has been developed to provide school administrators with the information necessary to assess the seismic vulnerability of their buildings, and to implement a program of incremental seismic rehabilitation for those buildings.
Part A, Critical Decisions for Earthquake Safety in Schools, is for superintendents, board members, business managers, principals, and other policy makers who will decide on allocating resources for earthquake mitigation.
Part B, Managing the Process for Earthquake Risk Reduction in Existing School Buildings, is for school district facility managers, risk managers, and financial managers who will initiate and manage seismic mitigation measures. Part C, Tools for Implementing Incremental Seismic Rehabilitation in School Buildings, is for school district facility managers, or those otherwise responsible for facility management, who will implement incremental seismic rehabilitation programs. This comprehensive publication identifies potential earthquake hazards associated with nonstructural components of school buildings, and provides detailed instructions for mitigating those hazards. This interactive Flash-based game helps people learn the correct ways to secure furniture and contents, before an earthquake occurs and everything falls that has not been secured.
A newsletter issue focusing on school emergency plans according to the four phases of emergency management, with an overview of ICS. These templates are intended as guidance to school staff and should be adapted according to your emergency plans, local policy, and specific circumstances.
This checklist and self-survey is useful for identifying which aspects of your plan need to be improved, or are not included.


Includes model preparedness surveys, letters to parents, memos to faculty and staff, preparation and supply guidelines, model emergency response roles and responsibilities, drill evaluation forms and more.
This document describes four levels of drills; pick the drill level that makes the most sense for your school or district.
This document is a template for preparing safe school plans; Volume 2 covers multihazard emergency preparedness and response. This guide covers all aspects of emergency and crisis planning, with useful recommendations for managing response (section 4) and recovery process (section 5)), including examples from schools and districts. Some areas indeed have a potential for damaging earthquakes, even though there may be no or little activity for many years.
Not only may you experience damage from earthquakes centered further away, but if your school or district is in the central or eastern U.S. So new codes may prevent deaths and limit injuries, but your school buildings may still have significant damage. Because of damage here and to many other schools, the Field Act was passed quickly by California to reduce future school damage. Companies can be hired to secure furniture and contents in your school buildings, though your maintenance staff are likely capable of installing the necessary equipment. Two important factors must be considered for emergency supplies: a secure storage location and an adequate amount of supplies. The Arkansas School Earthquake Preparedness Guidebook has an excellent list of equipment and supplies for various teams.
Moving can be very difficult during strong shaking, and the periphery of buildings is the most dangerous place for falling building components, especially in brick buildings.
A school built in California may have stricter requirements than one built in New York, where earthquakes are less frequent and less intense.
A useful asset to this resource is the Earthquake Hazards Checklist to assist staff in conducting a nonstructural hazards survey for each room within the educational facilities.
While fire and earthquake drills are often held separately, in a real earthquake a fire may be started such that during the shaking the concern is falling items but immediately after the concern may shift to fire evacuation. For example, a cargo container of emergency supplies is on every school campus in Los Angeles Unified School District. The purpose of the document is the same as for the original: to explain the sources of nonstructural earthquake damage in simple terms and to provide methods for reducing potential risks.
Likewise, planning how your school community will respond to an earthquake will identify key resources that must be prepared in advance, whereby recovery will be much faster as a result of proper execution of the other phases. Extensive documentation and resources for school implementation of NIMS are available from the REMS Technical Assistance Center. This lesson provides an overview of school earthquake preparedness and provides resources for use in incorporating earthquakes into your overall emergency plans. One simple qualification for a Search and Rescue team to enter a damaged building is that it needs to have all four walls and its roof, and should not be leaning at an extreme angle. 4) A broad list of references to resources for more detailed, technical and context-specific information.
An earthquake is a very destructive natural disaster; particularly in the Pacific Rim region.
After an earthquake, your home may be a mess and you might be left without a water supply and energy.
If your house has a chimney, this can be a source of injury if it topples during an earthquake. Extra prepaid mobile phones and two-way radios are a good idea, but don't count on the cell phones working. If at all possible, avoid living near fault lines and large mountains in an earthquake-prone region.
When looking online for items to help you quake proof your home, a good search term is "earthquake safety products". Earthquake shaking can damage any building, but some are more likely to be damaged severely (such as brick buildings or others built before modern building codes. Newer codes require better designs to withstand expected levels of earthquake shaking for the area. For example, the California Field Act of 1933 requires higher standards for public school buildings as well as thorough inspection requirements. However significant injuries and damage may also result when contents within classrooms, offices, and other facilities fall or are thrown during earthquake shaking. A resource entitled, Guide and Checklist for Non-Structural Earthquake Hazards in California Schools, is a comprehensive publication which identifies potential earthquake hazards associated with nonstructural components of school buildings and further provides detailed instructions for mitigating those hazards.
For this reason, personnel must be trained in the implementation of NIMS, and in particular the Incident Command System (ICS), a standardized approach within Command and Management. It may require the most storage space, but is essential for drinking and also needed for sanitation and perhaps cooling. Such kits are typically sufficient for up to 400 people, though this does not mean 400 injuries. Because earthquakes strike without warning, students and staff must know how to protect themselves with little or no time for instruction.


This is a great chance for teachers and staff to safely practice using a fire extinguisher. The guidance notes consist of four components: 1) General information and advocacy points addressing the need and rationale for safer school buildings, along with success stories and list a number of essential guiding principles and strategies for overcoming common challenges. An Earthquake Hazards Checklist form is also provided at the back of the publication to assist staff in conducting a nonstructural hazards survey.
These model documents may serve as a helpful guide for schools and districts which do not already have standardized forms. Regular training in conjunction with community partners and frequent updates to the school emergency plan are essential to better integrate NIMS and ICS. School officials should be prepared to be self-sustaining for a minimum of 3 days in times of an emergency. The following instructions are for classroom teachers but can be modified for administrative officer and other school locations.
The activity focuses on earthquakes because earthquake preparedness means preparedness for all types of emergencies.
Geological Survey, shows which areas are most likely to be shaken by earthquakes, and where earthquake hazards are low. The assigned team (as delegated in the NIMS Command System) is responsible for the procurement, storage, and maintenance of specific supplies for earthquake preparedness. You should evaluate your school facilities and consult with a structural engineer if possible to determine which are most likely to be damaged. 3) A compilation of basic design principles to identify some basic requirements a school building must meet to provide a greater level of protection. However as the image shows, earthquake hazard is higher along the west coast and Alaska, because of tectonic plate boundaries where slow shifting of plates causes faults to rupture into larger earthquakes, which are more frequent. There are several things you can do to prepare for an earthquake before it happens, to minimize the damage and potential for injury in and around your home.
There are a number of specific hazards in your home that you can deal with before an earthquake occurs.
Conventional picture hooks will not hold pictures during an earthquake but they are easy to fix - simply push the hook closed, or use a filler material to fill the gap between the hook and its backing. Since there is no precise time of day when an earthquake might strike, you may be at work, at school, on a bus, or in a train when one strikes. Be sure to include wrenches for gas lines, a heavy duty hammer, work gloves, and a crowbar. If there aren't civic groups present in your area focused on earthquake preparedness, work on putting one together. Ask your neighbors to lend a hand, other family members, or dial a handyman company that is good at fixing things for a reasonable price. Similar items should be kept at your desk at work or school (for work, keep a pair of comfortable walking shoes ready).
Your buildings may seem fine but have been weakened in the main earthquake, only to collapse during a large aftershock. The Guidebook also has thorough recommendations for storing and providing food, with formulas and tables for determining needed quantities.
Many teachers and school staff members have never handled a fire extinguisher, so make sure that your staff is prepared and trained in their proper use.
Schools or districts that have been successful with a lower level should consider doing a more advanced drill during the ShakeOut. It includes descriptions of all teams, procedures for each phase of the emergency, and many form templates.
First responders may take longer to arrive, needed resources (for response as well as for repairing damage) may be limited, and much of your population may leave the area permanently. Its intended audience is design professionals and school officials involved in the technical and financial decisions of school construction, repair, and renovations. The Central United States has a moderate to high earthquake hazard becuause of its history of earthquake activity, especially a series of large earthquakes from 1811 to 1812. It is highly likely that you will need to know several ways to get home since roads and bridges will likely be obstructed for long periods of time. However, with proper training and planning in advance, everyone in your school community can be prepared to react appropriately during and after an earthquake, with appropriate supplies on hand. Since nonstructural failures have accounted for the majority of earthquake damage in several recent U.S.
The east coast has occasional moderate-sized earthquakes and rare larger earthquake events, as compared to its west coast counterpart (i.e. For example: There is a vase on the desk, when a rock hits it, the glass would shatter everywhere which may cause injuries.
If you have civil defence safety meeting points, be sure that every member of the family knows the location of the one closest to home, school, and work.



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