The Next Emergency Exit

By Kietty Phuangpolchai

Hint: Table is Useful

Photo Credit: Patrick Kruger
Photo Credit: Patrick Kruger

An earthquake may be the last disaster you think of when it comes to emergency preparation. With bigger issues to cope with like exams, break-ups, and rent, you can’t help but neglect an unexpected earthquake, existing ominously but unobtrusively in the future. When the next big hit comes, will you be prepared for it?

In the last couple weeks, the BCC Voice surveyed random students on the Berkeley City College campus, to discover that only 1 out of 10 students are concerned about earthquakes.

“I know that this building is earthquake proof,” a BCC student ambassador said.

To many students with busy lives, earthquakes are a minor issue, but we live above one of the most hazardous zones in California, the Hayward Fault. The fault underlies most of the Bay Area and has an approximate magnitude of around 6.8, according to the U.S. Geological Survey’s Earthquake Science Center in Menlo Park, California.

According to Day One Response, a global nonprofit organization, the number one issue during earthquake disaster relief is having a clean source of drinking water. “Everyone is prepared for earthquakes in Japan,” commented Ku, a sophomore international student at BCC. You can’t control everything that happens, but preparing for an earthquake can mitigate the harm caused by one.

We have gathered information from sources, such as the Red Cross and the City Of Berkeley Preparedness Center, to create a small list of items that everyone should have in their home in the event an earthquake hits:

1. Water (one gallon per person, per day. 3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)

2. Food (easy-to- prepare canned foods)

3. A small hand crank/ or battery powered radio (your next yard-sale hunt)

4. Whistle (bonus point if you know emergency rhythm)

5. Flashlight (extra batteries are a must)

6. Mobile phone (plus back-up battery)

7. First Aid kit & medications

8. Sanitation & personal hygiene items (soap & toothbrush)

9. Cash

10. Legal documents (driver’s license, birth certificate, etc.)

If the earth ruptures, or even if it just shakes a bit, there are things you can do to keep yourself safe. If you feel a strong quake at Berkeley City College, remember three actions: “Drop, cover, and hold on,” suggests the Red Cross.

Find a sturdy table and take cover under it so that a heavy object doesn’t fall on your head. Avoid using elevators. Discover BCC’s secret emergency exit stairs on the first floor and in basement. Stand away from power lines, signs, and hanging objects. Also, stay calm.

The City of Berkeley designated October, 2015 as Berkeley Preparedness Month to raise awareness about earthquake safety. The City offers free training and certification so you can join the community emergency response team in case of a disaster. According to the City of Berkeley’s website, “Curriculum includes disaster preparedness, fire safety, disaster medical operations, and light search and rescue operations.”

Find more how at:

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