Researchers all agree that California is due for another big earthquake. The last big earthquake that hit California was the Northridge Earthquake on January 17, 1994. Staff members at Hemet Unified School District decided to prepare its staff by joining over 10.5 million California residents on October 20th and participate in the international earthquake drill, the Great Shakeout.
This is the seventh year the district has decided to participate in the Great Shakeout. This annual drill allows people to prepare for an earthquake and practice specific protocols to ensure their safety. This year, HUSD staff decided to crank things up a notch. Instead of it being a typical earthquake drill, the Safety Department emailed various scenarios to school sites the morning of the drill.
The last minute scenario allowed staff to test their preparedness in various circumstances. Some sites were told their power was shut off and asked what procedures they put in place to communicate school-wide. Other sites were asked what their staff would do if they evacuated and saw there were two buildings with major structural damage, trapping staff and students.
Lucy Dressel, Director of Safety and Risk Management, said the drill went well. After the drill, each site sent an after action report to the Safety Department. Dressel said this began the important conversation of administration’s response to a higher level of emergency preparedness. She continued to say, “The drill also gave staff the opportunity to practice their continuity plan to allow them to return to regular business activity at a quicker rate.”
Lee Ann Bradshaw, Assistant Principal at McSweeny Elementary School, said she was thankful for Safety adding a last minute scenario. McSweeny’s scenario was after the evacuation, the Office Manager went missing. Bradshaw said the practice scenario encouraged staff to make decisions quickly as if it were a real emergency.
Thank you to all of the Hemet Unified staff for participating in this year’s earthquake drill, the Great Shakeout! We are thankful to have every opportunity possible to ensure our staff is properly prepared for a disaster.