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School Preparedness Plan for Tornado, Earthquakes, Fire Emergency Research Paper


Introduction

The preparedness plan is meant to be used by the school in case of any of the disasters listed. According to Hulnick (2004), being well prepared for emergencies and anticipating threats helps to achieve deal with emergencies in a better way. All parents should have a copy of the plan and make themselves familiar with it.

The school will ensure that students are aware of the preparedness plan and that they practice the plan for efficiency. Staff members of the school shall be responsible for assisting the students to put the plan in place in case of an emergency.

Fire emergency

The school is vulnerable to fires due to the use of chemicals, electrical appliances and due to the vast wiring of electricity to all corners of the school.

According to Model School (2010), although fire is unlikely if proper caution is followed, there is a threat of fire if the students are not careful and their actions are not properly supervised. In a school fire is one of the emergencies that can occur and for which the school should be prepared.

Preventative measures

  1. Fire drills should be conducted regularly and their importance explained to the students. This should preferably be done beginning the new school year. Hold fire drills on a regular basis. Have the initial fire drill for the school year in early September. All employees should be assigned appropriate responsibilities to assist the students.
  2. The students and staff members should be taught how to operate the fire extinguishers and alarms. Fire extinguishers and fire alarms should be properly marked so that all people can access them.

Laboratory

  1. Flammable materials should be supervised and stored in appropriate containers. The school will store laboratory chemicals with caution to avoid accidental spills.
  2. Incompatible chemicals should be stored away from each other to avoid accidental mixing which could cause a fire.
  3. Any expired chemicals should be appropriately discarded. Broken containers should be replaced.
  4. Minimal supplies should be kept to avoid risk of chemicals serving as fuel for the fire. Spills should be cleaned immediately.
  5. All experiments will be conducted with necessary supervision. Dangerous material shall be stored and supplies made available only to concerned supervisors or teachers.
  6. Students shall not be allowed to operate dangerous appliances without supervision. In addition, gas will be turned off when not in use.

Classroom

  1. Rubbish should be taken out as soon as possible. Paper waste should not be left lying around.
  2. Power outlets should not be overloaded. Wires should be well covered and all electrical hazards removed.
  3. Movable heaters should be avoided in addition to candles.

In order to protect the students from a fire, the following should be observed as a prevention measure.

Gymnasium

  1. Emergency lighting should be checked regularly.
  2. All entrances should be kept clear. Equipment should be properly stored and not left lying where it can cause tripping.
  3. Exit door ought to be kept working.
  4. Electric wiring should be kept away from floor where it can cause tripping or cause a fire in case the wires become naked.

Kitchen area

  1. Cleaning should be done regularly to avoid build up of grease. Particular attention should be given to ducts, filters, hoods and cookers.
  2. Spills should be cleaned up as soon as possible.
  3. Garbage should be taken out as soon as it is full or near full.
  4. Iron boxes should never be left unattended during ironing. Pilot lights will be used for outlets used for the ironing.
  5. Air conditioners, fans and dryer filters should be kept clean and clear.

Practical rooms

  1. Outlets should not be overloaded.
  2. Extension cords should be used for a limited time period.
  3. Cylinders containing gas should be kept upright and left undisturbed.
  4. Combustible substances should be kept away from heat.
  5. Ensure all working surfaces are clean and clear of debris. Waste should be discarded appropriately.
  6. Only materials that is to be used in every class should be stored in the practical rooms.
  7. All area should be well ventilated.
  8. Fire extinguishers should be stored in the room and made easily accessible.

Maintenance room and boilers

  1. No combustibles should ever be stored in these rooms.
  2. Annual service should be done on all the equipment in these rooms and checks conducted before use.
  3. Equipment powered by gas should be stored outside. Fire rated rooms can also be used as an alternative.

Storage areas and offices

  1. Electric outlet should not be overloaded. Wires should be kept from exposure, floors or areas they are prone to damage.
  2. Cleaning substances should handled properly and used in well-ventilated areas.
  3. Materials and equipment should be well stored without blocking the doorways.

Doors and halls

  1. Exits ought to be well marked and the doors kept clear.
  2. Emergency lighting should be checked regularly.
  3. Doors should be checked to ensure they operate well.
  4. Bulletin boards should be kept neat and clear of paper waste. They should also take less than 20% of wall space since they are highly flammable.

During a fire

  • Students should be directed to save life. Anyone in danger of burning or smoke inhalation should be removed.
  • An alarm should be sounded to alert others of the fire. This can be done by starting the fire alarm system of the school or by vocally shouting “Fire”.
  • Emergency call should be made to the fire department or by calling 911. Be sure to give all the details asked like the location of the school and possible cause of fire.
  • If it is possible to slow down the fire without posing danger to the self, then it should be done. This may include the use of fire extinguisher, closing windows and doorways.
  • Evacuation should be done including taking first aid supplies, student’s emergency cards. A sign in/out form should also be taken so that it can be used to check the students outside the building.
  • Have a designated meeting point where all the students meet. There should be consideration made for the meeting point so that the students can be kept safe during bad weather.

After the fire

  • Students should stay in the designated area and avoid mingling with the crowd or getting in the way of the rescue team. Evacuation route ought to be well marked and all made aware of it.
  • First aid should be given to any injured student while the emergency medical team is being awaited.
  • Contact should be made with parents as soon as students are cleared to go home. If any students are taken to hospital, parents should be notified as well.
  • Await clearance from the fire officials before going back to the school buildings or area.

Earthquakes

The school is vulnerable to earthquakes given its location. The area has experienced some earthquakes in the past and lies within an earthquake belt. According National Commission on Terrorist Attacks (NCTA) (2004), being aware of vulnerabilities and dealing appropriately with previous and new information can uncover new threats.

Although severe earthquakes have not been reported in the area, there is a threat of earthquake and that should guide the preparation for the future.

In case of an earthquake emergency, the school should be prepared to keep the students safe. During an earthquake, the following measures should be followed. All people must watch out for falling objects, fallen power-lines and broken glass.

Preventative measures

  1. All classrooms should be made safe from earthquake hazards including the removal of heavy items that are placed above the students’ heads.
  2. Books cases should be secured to the walls or floors. This will prevent injuries from falling objects in case of an earthquake. Most injuries from earthquakes happen following falling items.
  3. Students’ desks should be placed away from the windows especially in schools in areas prone to earthquake.
  4. Breakable items like computers and other items with glass should be secured. Thus, they will not pose additional danger during earthquakes by falling and presenting glass shatters.
  5. Students should be made familiar with earthquakes and shown the safe areas they can use to hide during an earthquake. These areas should include under heavy furniture and sheltered halls.
  6. Any safety rooms should be well ventilated and located on the ground level. Rooms used as safe places should be on the ground floor and have few windows and vents.
  7. Exit doors should be well marked and all people know the doors and can use them to get to safety in a previously designated place or location.
  8. Emergency equipment should be assembled and kept within easy reach should need a rise. These supplies should include first aid materials, flashlight, radio (battery operated), water, food (non-perishable) and blankets. Since the emergency crew may not arrive immediately, the administrators should be equipped to offer the most help they can.
  9. There should be a file created containing emergency information for all students and workers. This information will be used to contact parents or for use by the response emergency team. The information should include emergency contacts persons, administrator phone numbers, names, and class roster.

During the earthquake

In order to protect the school during an earthquake, the following should be observed during the earthquake.

  • Students should cover their heads and sit low facing away from windows.
  • The students should be directed to sit under furniture and as far away from windows as possible.
  • Direct the students to remain in their positions until the earthquake ends. If there are after shocks, the students should remain in place for about five minutes. This is because of the danger of falling objects. The students should be reassured so that they remain calm and do not walk around.
  • The students should also be made aware of noises to expect so that they remain calm.

After the earthquake

  • Students should be examined for injuries. Those who are seriously hurt should not be moved to avoid further injuries. All others should be given first aid while awaiting emergency medical help.
  • The school should be examined for damages and particularly for areas that could pose further dangers like fallen power-lines or gas.
    • Students should be asked to avoid using electrical equipment including sockets, which may have been tampered with during the earthquake and may pose danger to them.
    • Students should avoid using toilets as the sewage system may be compromised
    • The school should use foods that are likely to be spoilt and leave for last those that are durable. This is especially helpful in case of severe damages when rescue may take several hours or longer period of time.
    • If there is danger of the buildings collapsing, the students should be moved outside and away from the building structures.
    • There should be a designated area or meeting point which all students should meet if they move outdoors. While moving to this area first aid materials and student’s emergency files should be brought along.
  • Have a prepared radio fully charged so that the school can listen to official directives in the location of the school.
  • Materials that could pose danger like spilt oils among others should be cleaned up if staying indoors.
  • Students should be alerted to be careful because after shock waves may happen without notice.

Power outage

The school is vulnerable to power outage especially resulting from other disasters like earthquakes or in severe storm weather. The area has experienced some earthquakes in the past which has caused power outage in some schools.

Although long duration of power outage has not been reported, even short periods of power outage should be prepared for by the school. In case of a power outage, school should help the students remain safe. This is especially in instances when emergency light or generators do not work.

During the power outage

  • The students should be kept comfortable. They should be assured they are safe.
  • The students should be asked to remain where they are until the teacher or administrators can provide lighting.
  • Plans should be in place for lighting before power outages occur.
  • The students can be asked to evacuate outdoors if the weather allows.

Tornado

The school is vulnerable to tornadoes although they do not occur frequently. According to Peterson et al. (2001), sometimes the most basic aspects are the most helpful in guiding response especially in addressing common issues. The history of the school area should be used to guide the preparation for tornado emergency.

The area has experienced some tornado previously. In case of a tornado emergency the school should be prepared to keep the students safe. Usually there is a warning from the authorities on impending tornadoes. However if it occurs during school the following measures should be followed.

Preventative measures

There should be an emergency plan.

In case there is time, parents should be requested to have their children at home.

During the tornado

  • Students should be moved to storm shelters pending severe storms.
  • If they remain in school, the students should be asked to remain far from windows.
  • The students can be moved to a cellar or basement for additional protection.
  • The students should be asked to hide under heavy furniture or stay in sheltered hallways.
  • If the tornado begins during traveling, move the students to a ditch or low lying area. They should be protected from debris and the strong winds.
  • The students should be directed to protect their heads by keeping it low with hands behind it and close to the legs.

After the tornado

  • The students should refrain from walking around in case of broken glass. In addition, they can be harmed by debris that the wind may be blowing.
  • Radios should be used to listen to official information during the tornado.

Conclusion

Emergency preparedness should be about prevention as much as execution of measures to minimize injury and damages. The school should ensure that all students are taught about disasters and what to expect and do in case of a disaster striking. The school should ensure that all precaution is taken to avoid disasters that originate from human error. In addition, the school should have emergency equipment and material put in place and coordinates assistance from outside emergency response teams.

References

Hulnick, A. S. (2004). Keeping us safe: secret intelligence and homeland security. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers.

Model School (2010). Preparedness plan. Web.

National Commission on Terrorist Attacks (NCTA). (2004). 9/11 Commission, The 9/11 Commission Report. New York: W.W. Norton.

Peterson, M. B, Marilyn, B. and Wright, D. (2001). Intelligence 2000 revising the basic elements: a guide for intelligence professionals. Sacramento, CA: IALEIA and LEIU.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "School Preparedness Plan for Tornado, Earthquakes, Fire Emergency." July 8, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/preparedness-plan-for-a-school/.

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