10-16 10:16 a.m.: SPFD, SPUSD
students drill for California ShakeOut

October 22, 2014
Santa Paula News

When the clock struck 10:16 a.m. it was Drop, Cover and Hold On for millions of Californians that took part in the October 16 Great ShakeOut, an exercise in earthquake preparedness practiced around the world.

And, especially in earthquake prone California where more than 10.4 million residents signed up for Thursday’s activities, including a joint exercise by Santa Paula Unified School District students and the Santa Paula Fire Department.

According to SPFD PIO Andy Van Sciver, when the 10:16 a.m. “earthquake” struck Thursday, the city’s Mobile Command Unit 5th-wheel trailer was activated and both engine companies dispatched for school duty.

Acting Assistant Fire Chief/Captain Dustin Lazenby, the city’s Emergency Preparedness Officer, directed operations for the response the faux earthquake, which created damage to schools throughout the SPUSD system.

Students throughout the district were instructed to Duck, Cover and Hold On - the latter meaning to hold tight to table or chair legs so they don’t move away due to earthquake shaking - and then were evacuated from the classrooms. 

Van Sciver said firefighters and district staff had to respond to incidents such as a simulated fire in an Isbell Middle School maintenance shack, a collapsed building at Bedell Elementary School and a gas leak in the high school auditorium.

Enforcing evacuation procedures was stressed at Isbell where firefighters first set up smoke machines to simulate fire in the maintenance outbuilding for the response.

“The kids stayed exactly where they were supposed to be and there was no problem with the fire department taking care of that issue,” without distractions including having to worry about the whereabouts of students. 

Van Sciver said, “The three scenarios firefighters chose to focus on were broken pipes, broken gas lines, the potential for being trapped due to damage or power failures... what you would expect to see in an earthquake when you lost services.” 

And that included missing students at Bedell School where Van Sciver said, “A building collapsed and the school was not sure if the students were just not accounted for or had been trapped in the structure.

“Both engine companies responded because of the criticality,” of the incident but the students were “found” unharmed.

Such emergency preparedness exercises are “For everybody... students, fire and school personnel. We should all be prepared all year long,” and its probable students that took part in campus exercises will encourage their families to plan ahead for emergencies.

Bottled water, batteries, canned food, flashlights, a family meeting place, every little bit helps in being ready to face an emergency.

“Preparedness,” said Van Sciver, “is the key... and it’s not when we’ll have a major earthquake but when.”

For more information visit www.ready.gov/earthquakes

Although the 2014 Great California ShakeOut was already held, you can still participate in activities and get important information; visit http://www.shakeout.org/california/

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