As I was squatting on the floor during our last disaster drill, holding a copy of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein over my head for protection due to being larger than my desk, I asked myself, “Am I really prepared?” Disaster drills are an essential part to our safety on school grounds. During the few we do have, it feels half-assed by the students and resented by the teachers, causing what I believe to be a safety hazard.
Earthquakes are not unknown to California, playing a major part in our disaster history. The 1989 San Francisco earthquake is a particularly dark part of history that just shows how dangerous one can be. During this earthquake, bridges collapsed, buildings toppled, and fires roared across the city. Those who survived the city still have a difficult time discussing it today, and many of those that didn’t simply did not know what to do. This isn’t a freak of nature occurrence; it had happened before and will happen again.
Southern California is currently under the threat of the San Andreas Fault, a fault that is expected to shift anytime now. The resulting earthquake could be even more destructive than anything we have seen in over a century. To prepare for this disaster, the city of San Diego has updated their building code, which helps for new buildings. Unfortunately some of the older buildings could be left in the dust. As for our highways, they are in poor preparation. While changes have been made to prepare these roads, many local scientists believe that they will not withstand the disaster. This is San Diego, we can barely survive a rainy day while driving, and how can we be expected to manage shifting roads? As for buildings, the advice we typically receive is to go under a desk, or to stand in a doorway, but it does not seem as though that that will do terribly much when the building is crumbling around us.
We are not prepared. MC will typically have two disaster drills a year, not even enough to know exactly what we’re supposed to do let alone have the nerves to do so correctly. A recent poll shows that 86 percent of students do not feel prepared, leaving a measly 14 percent feeling otherwise. I am not a fan of being caught in a crowd of students during a disaster where less than a fifth knows what they are supposed to do.
While there is nothing we can do to prevent these disasters, we can prepare. The school needs to increase how many drills we have every year. Even though this can be a hindrance on classes, it is ultimately a safety precaution. Whether or not the school keeps you prepared, there are things you can do to help yourself better understand what to do in an emergency. Study disaster plans for your school, home, and city.
As a school, it is time for us to step up our preparedness, because natural disasters happen, and the only real defense we have is practice- practice that is seriously lacking. So in our currents state I just hope that there is a larger copy of Frankenstein lying around when an earthquake hits.