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"Prepare. Respond. Recover. It's time to get Ready LA" - Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
Normally the biggest thing children worry about at school is how to explain their missing homework. After all, you can only blame the dog so many times. Unfortunately other more serious disasters do occur Though they are rare, everyone needs to know how to act and react in these situations. And the best lesson to be learned is how to prepare.
Responding to emergencies


When natural disasters such as hurricanes approach, most schools are evacuated in plenty of time. But other less predictable events can cause serious problems that require an immediate response. These include:

  • Earthquake
  • Fire
  • Flooding
  • Tornado
  • Chemical Leak
  • Random Acts of Violence

Coordination is the key

Good communication isn’t just for teachers and students. Parents of schoolchildren should stay informed about the school’s disaster preparedness plan. Talk to school administrators and teachers about the plans they have in place. And make sure that they explain evacuation rules to every student. At the same time, here are some things you can tell your children about disasters that occur at school.

  • Don’t panic; listen for instructions from school authorities.
  • When evacuating a classroom, leave in an orderly fashion.
  • Avoid loud talking unless you are shouting for help.
  • Know the locations of all of your school’s exit points.
  • Try to stay in the presence of a trusted adult.
  • Do not leave the school grounds unless instructed by someone in authority
  • When it is safe to do so, contact your parents.

Pass the preparation test

Before you can teach effectively, you have to have the knowledge to pass on to others. That’s why any disaster preparation program requires a tremendous amount of planning. Schools are entrusted to keep our children safe at all times. So how can you ensure that, or at least improve the odds?

  • Meet with faculty and administrators to develop a plan.
  • Coordinate the plan with local police and fire officials.
  • Identify the most likely disasters that could happen to your school.
  • Designate a first aid center on, or adjacent to, the school premises
  • Arrange for an official evacuation point, and include a backup location.
  • Provide emergency preparedness literature to students.
  • Conduct periodic drills to make sure everyone knows the procedure.
  • Assign various tasks to teachers, students and others at the school.

Safeguarding the students

Class is in session, the day is moving forward uneventfully…then disaster strikes! Students are screaming, alarms are ringing and it seems as if you’re surrounded by circumstances totally out of your control. But wait a minute…take stock of the situation and act intelligently and decisively. Here are some important guidelines:

  • In the event of an earthquake, teachers should give “drop, cover and hold” instructions.
  • Evacuate the building in case of fire or immediately after an earthquake has occurred.
  • Hold students in an assigned yard area, take a roll call and wait for further instructions. Report if anyone is missing.
  • If telephones are working, call 9-1-1 for emergency assistance.
  • Set up and coordinate your first aid center
  • In the event of a random shooting, try to lead students to the nearest exit. If that is not possible, lock your classroom door and tell students to duck down under their desks and remain quiet.
  • Once the disaster is over, dismiss students to go home only with a parent or other authorized adult.
  • Do not re-enter any of the school buildings until the area is pronounced safe.

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