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The UCLA campus is almost 100 years old, and with old age comes problems. Faced with an ever-changing world, the editorial board is examining what the university can do to protect the Bruins from a torrent of dangers, whether natural or man-made.
Being at UCLA long enough means going through an earthquake or two.
Most of the time, that doesn’t sound like much. But for those times when an earthquake becomes more than seconds of shuffle, UCLA needs to prepare its students, staff, and faculty for the worst.
UCLA has a certain level of earthquake preparedness, as all universities should have. After the University of California updated its seismic policies in 2017, UCLA drew up plans to ensure its buildings meet updated safety criteria, according to a 2019 Campus Update. The university also trained CERT members and building and area guards on evacuation plans, initial response and rescue communication with first responders. Senior leaders and emergency responders also participate in regular simulations.
In the same update, administrators said notification systems like the BruinAlert app and Bruins Safe Online will provide information on what to do in an earthquake in addition to real-time information. during an emergency on campus.
With an influx of students who have never been to campus this fall, there are more Bruins than ever who don’t know the ins and outs of buildings, campus security zones, and protocols. emergency. This could mean danger in the event of a large-scale earthquake, which may not be very distant in the future. The San Andreas Fault is less than 150 miles from campus, and the last major tremor to occur on the fault was 161 years ago.
Everyone should feel confident knowing first what to do during an earthquake and second, how UCLA will react. Recent news of structural disasters, such as the collapsed building in florida and the earthquake in Haiti, remind you that it is never too early to start preparing for the next disaster.
Most of us know how to stop, drop, and take cover when the ground starts to shake, but what to do after that is a mystery. Administrators should do their utmost to clearly and regularly communicate the university’s earthquake security policies to students and staff.
For starters, UCLA can ensure that all buildings have sufficient signage to remind the Bruins of the best routes out of a building or the safest rooms for shelter. She should also inform students about which areas of the campus and on the hill are the safest to go during major earthquakes, whether by email, during class, or as a MyUCLA alert.
Yes, UCLA is a big campus – a school-wide exercise might not be the easiest to do. But the exercises could give community members, especially those who cannot flee as easily as others, the confidence to know how to navigate the situation in real time. Exercises could be quarterly in randomly selected buildings on campus.
California already has a “Large ShakeOutâEvery year, where people from all over the state simulate the response to an earthquake. Requiring all students to participate in this event would be a good start in preparing the community for an earthquake.
Ultimately, administrators need to educate students and staff on how the university will work with first responders at the onset of an earthquake and how it will support students in the next day.
UCLA is doing a good job of improving earthquake preparedness, but that doesn’t mean the job is done.