California State University East Bay

Local schools prep for earthquakes

November 13, 2014

San Leandro’s city council worked with local school districts on Monday to determine how they can work together with the fire department to handle emergency situations like earthquakes.

Representatives from San Leandro Unified School District and neighboring San Lorenzo Unified School District met and discussed with the Fire Department of Alameda County what would be the best course of action in the event of a citywide or countywide emergency.

Certified Emergency Manager Heidi Quiroz has seven years of experience in emergency management and led the presentation on ways to prepare and respond in case of an emergency.

Quiroz started the discussion with what was learned from the 6.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Napa on Aug. 24 in the early hours of the morning.  The earthquake caused $80.1 million in damage Quiroz said; many wineries were impacted because the cellars were not reinforced in case of an earthquake.

FEMA reported last Thursday that $2.4 million in aid has been offered to those affected by the earthquake. One person died during the earthquake, due to an unsecured television.  Damage estimates have varied, with some reporting that the damage could have been in the hundreds of millions according to the San Jose Mercury.

Quiroz mentioned one rule of thumb in order to prevent serious injury or death during an earthquake: “Don’t have anything in your room taller than you.” The Napa earthquake damage was very centralized, she said, and if it had been regional, resources would have been stretched and federal resources would be difficult to attain.

Quiroz examined the plan of emergency the city of San Leandro has in place and determined three possible catastrophes that could affect the city: wild land fire, damage to the local dam, and earthquake.  The city of San Leandro must tailor their current emergency plan to fit these possible emergencies. Quiroz emphasized three plans that are necessary to have in place in order to be prepared as a city:

Hazard mitigation plan – How will we prepare for an emergency, what are the possible hazards and risks?

Emergency operating plan – What will we do when it happens? Is everyone on board with the emergency plan and does everyone have a designated role?

Response plan – Analyze the situation. What is the damage? How do we resume normal operation?

In order to be better prepared as a city, neighborhood involvement was emphasized in the presentation. Get to know your neighbor and who lives in which home. Who are the elderly? Who will need more assistance than others in the case of an emergency? More importantly, she said residents must understand the general map of the neighborhood.

Quiroz also suggested integrating schools into the current city emergency plan so that they are aware of their role in the event of an emergency. Representatives from both school districts stated they were interested in being a proactive component to the city emergency plan.

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