Are Schools Well Prepared for Emergencies?


Delaney Pietsch

Some of the many things that are in the emergency containers in case of a natural disaster.

Delaney Pietsch , Photojournalist

Over the past few weeks, there have been many different types of natural disasters throughout the world; from the horrific earthquakes in Mexico to the numerous hurricanes attacking Texas and the east coast. When looking at these different situations, the one thing that comes to mind is the question of will this happen around me? When disaster strikes, it is good to be prepared for any type of situation, one being that it happens while at school.

Every year, each school throughout California participates in the “Great ShakeOut” safety drills. Along with this preparation for an earthquake, the schools do a lockdown drill and a fire drill. They put these three preparations together on one day, trying to make it less confusing for the students and save time for teaching.

Along with the drills, the schools provide a bucket for each classroom to have in case one of these disasters strikes during school hours. The container is filled with flashlights, emergency safety kits, emergency fire blankets, water, toilet paper, and much more. Although the bucket holding all these items seems to be small and useless, it actually has a sufficient purpose. It is a toilet, and it comes with a tarp to give privacy.

While all these are nice, it does not help the fact that many students do not feel well prepared for a disaster. All throughout California, there is only one emergency drill for all the different types of situations that could affect each school. When there is an earthquake or fire, everyone evacuates to a safe area around the school. In contrast, when there is a lockdown, students are supposed to stay in any classroom near them for their safety.

Throughout the years, many students have gotten this confused because of the way the “Great Shakeout” and many other drills are organized. When put together, many students do not know which drill is for what.

Agreeing that these drills are not sufficient enough, Emily Remer (11), states that “only practic[ing] one drill is not enough” while living on a moving fault line. Each school should “come up with more ideas”, this way keeping “all children safe” and calm.

Scientists have stated that there will be an extremely large earthquake in the near future, and being prepared is the biggest key. Knowing what to do in these situations is very critical. If there are any questions, make sure to ask the school or teachers. Your life may depend on it.