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CONTINGENCY PLAN ON EARTH QUAKE

Introduction
Earthquakes are unique challenges for schools. Unlike other natural or man-made hazards, they
occur with no warning. Schools cannot be closed in advance, nor evacuated. 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. This
lesson provides an overview of school earthquake preparedness and provides resources for use
in incorporating earthquakes into your overall emergency plans.

Your school or district should not prepare for earthquakes separately from other potential
hazards. Much of the material in this lesson also is useful for many other situations. The best
approach is to create and enhance comprehensive, all-hazards emergency plans that:

Involve the collaboration of community partners

Are customized to the unique district, school, and campus

Provide for the whole school community, including people with disabilities and special
needs

Support the implementation of School Disaster Risk Reduction Management

Use the four phases frameworkPrevention & Mitigation, Preparedness, Response, and
Recovery

Four interconnected phases of emergency management


Here are basic definitions for each phase:

Prevention & Mitigation


Identifying all potential hazards and vulnerabilities and reducing the potential damage they
can cause.

Preparedness
Collaborating with community partners to develop plans and protocols to prepare for the
possibility that the identified hazards, vulnerabilities or emergencies will occur.

Response
Working closely with first responders and community partners to effectively contain and
resolve an emergency in, or around, a school or campus.

Recovery
Teaming with community partners to assist students and staff in the healing process, and
restore a healthy and safe learning environment following an emergency event.

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Prevention-Mitigation is...
Identifying all potential hazards and vulnerabilities and reducing the potential damage they
can cause.

Understanding Educational Facilities Damage and Considerations to Reduce


Losses

Earthquakes may not only cause damage to school buildings, they also can damage
local/regional infrastructure, which may disrupt school facility operations without evident
physical damage being present.

While buildings may be well-built and have very little damage in an earthquake, 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 control. These issues may
complicate response and prolong recovery. Emergency plan needs to have back-up options in
case normal resources are unavailable.

Understanding Educational Facilities Contents and Considerations to


Reduce Losses
School building collapse is certainly a major concern requiring long-term planning and
investment toward prevention. However significant injuries and damage may also result when
contents within classrooms, offices, and other facilities fall or are thrown during earthquake
shaking. Furniture can fall on students or block doorways, and expensive computers and other
equipment may be damaged. Chemistry labs and industrial shops have unique hazards to
consider. Fortunately, the solutions for preventing most of these issues are relatively
inexpensive.

Secure Your Space!

Straps, buckles, and other devices are widely available to secure content within facilities.
Secure furniture and contents in school buildings, though maintenance staff are likely capable of
installing the necessary equipment. When classrooms or offices are painted, furniture is moved,
or computers are replaced, it should be required that the straps, brackets, and other solutions
be re-installed and the budget should include this work.

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In addition to furniture and other permanent items, classrooms and offices should also consider
other safety issues. Storing educational materials "out of reach of children" may seem wise until
they fall during an earthquake. Consider lockable cabinets instead.

Recommendations:

DO NOT stack things above head level.

DO NOT block emergency exit signs or passageways.

O keep your fire extinguisher in operating condition and strapped to a wall.

(Common Safety Violations in School Classrooms)

Preparedness is...
Collaborating with community partners to develop plans and protocols to prepare for the
possibility that the identified hazards, vulnerabilities or emergencies will occur.

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Utilizing Educational Facility Design to Conduct
EarthquakeTrainings and Drills
During earthquake drills "Drop, Cover, and Hold" is required. While fire and earthquake drills are
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.

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.

First Aid Supplies

First aid kits should be always available, in each faculty or offices, canteen and clinic.

In addition to the standard first aid kit school could include additional supplies as suplement:

Bottled water to flush wounds


Mylar or regular blankets to keep people warm and dry
Box of non-latex exam gloves to protect against infections and disease
Fresh bleach can be mixed with water (10:1) and used as a universal disinfectant

Make sure your first aid kits are maintained on a regular schedule:

Kits should be labeled


Stored in a clean, safe location - at the front of the emergency bin/container
Replace expired items immediately; or preferably before they expire! Include timelines in
your emergency plans for when to replace perishable items.

Response is...
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. The educational facilities procedures and teams developed and trained will now be put to
a real test. Earthquakes present unique challenges for educational facilities, such as:

Reacting for Self Protection: Drop, Cover, and Hold (Protect from Structural or Building
Contents Injury)
Reacting for Appropriate Building Evacuation
Reacting for Fire Suppression
Reacting Promptly for Search and Rescue Efforts

Reacting for Appropriate Building Evacuation


Once the earthquake has happened and the shaking has stopped, then your plan will likely
include evacuating classrooms and administrative offices to evacuation area(s), wherever you

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go for earthquake/fire drills. Make sure the area is away from structural facilities, so that you will
not have to worry about aftershocks. The following instructions are for classroom teachers but
can be modified for administrative officer and other school locations.

After shaking stops, assess your room for any dangers (broken glass, fallen items, fire,
chemical spills, etc.). Deal with anything urgent if possible, quickly.
NEVER evacuate automatically; there may be more danger outside than there is inside.
Check for safe passage/clear exit route from your room to the assembly area (look out
the door/window; don't leave children unsupervised).
If an aftershock occurs while you are exiting, Drop, Cover, and Hold until the shaking
stops.
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. If they are between classes, they should assemble in the outdoor
emergency assembly area with their next period class.

Response is...
Reacting for Fire Suppression and HazMat Control
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. Thus, fire constitutes a fairly great
risk after an earthquake. 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.

Respond to the following:

Keeping inventory and locations of hazardous chemicals on campus


Tracking expiration dates of fire extinguishers and assessing other fire-related
equipment
Evaluating potential release of chemicals.
Locating and extinguishing small fires as appropriate.
Checking gas meter and, if gas is leaking, shutting down gas supply (clinic/science lab).
Shutting down electricity only if building has clear structural damage or advised to do so
by the incident commander.
Posting yellow caution tape around damaged or hazardous areas.

When using a fire extinguisher, remember the acronym PASS:

Pull the pin

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Aim

Squeeze the handle

Sweep

Reacting Promptly for Educational Facilities Search and Rescue


Efforts
Several questions must be answered before deploying Search and Rescue teams. Is it safe to
conduct search and rescue? How damaged are your buildings? Who is making those
determinations? 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. Buildings in such condition should be left to professionals to enter. As is said in
the fire service: "Never bring victims to a scene." The individuals acting in a rescuer capacity
should not put themselves in a situation where they can also be injured.

If it is safe to do search and rescue, the following tools and materials can be used:

Personal protective equipment: helmets, gloves, masks, goggles and non-latex exam
gloves;
Basic hand tools - for light search and rescue.

It often happens that an entire class is unable to leave their classroom because a doorframe
became tweaked in the shaking. These are the first cases that should be attended to. Send one
of your search and rescue teams directly to those classrooms and have them use a prybar to
pop the door open, then send those students and teacher out to the assembly area with
everyone else.

When a team goes in to do a search, they should use the "go right, stay right" strategy. It can
be dark in an earthquake, even if it's daylight, because of the smoke, power outage, etc. With
the contents shifted, it can be easy to get lost, even in a small room. As your team members
enter, they should keep their right shoulder against the wall on their right and follow all the way
around back to the door they started from. To search the center of the room, walk straight
forward from a wall and then return to the same spot.

Recovery is...
Teaming with community partners to assist students and staff in the healing process, and
restore a healthy and safe learning environment following an emergency event.

Physical / Site Assessments

Is it safe to return?

What needs to be fixed?

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Handling the physical/site assessment successfully is an important aspect of your emergency
plan. This is also an important phase to include stakeholders in assessing possible
vulnerabilities/hazards of the district's educational facilities. Review the following resources for
details to consider and recommend policies/procedures.