Cathedral City High School held its annual disaster drill on Thursday, October 20. The disaster drill is a simulated emergency response drill that instructs students and faculty alike in California on how to properly respond to an enormous earthquake if and when it happens.

The San Andreas Fault, located in California, is long overdue for a massive earthquake. Seismologists predict the earthquake’s magnitude to be a minimum of 7.0. An earthquake with that magnitude will surely have the destructive power to cause immense damage. We cannot predict when the earthquake will strike, but we, as a community, can most definitely execute precautions to minimize as much damage and injuries as possible; this is what the disaster drill is designed to accomplish.

Student authors Alanis Meza and Oscar Escobar at the Disaster Preparedness Drill day

Student authors Alanis Meza and Oscar Escobar at the Disaster Preparedness Drill day

The disaster drill has been very successful in the past because of the realistic scenarios and precautions the school is equipped with should the earthquake strike during a school day. Items like stored canned food with a log of the expiration dates recorded, water, first aid kits, and all the other necessities needed to have in case of an earthquake are supplied. The proper preparation items are highly recommended to ensure the safest possible response if such a disaster should occur.

In cooperation with the Great American Shakeout, schools all across America have joined in this disaster drill, but Cathedral City High School has taken it to a whole other level. Police, Fire, EMS, and even a helicopter have participated to make it seems as real as can be. This has been done over many years and high school seniors in the Health and Environmental Academy of Learning (HEAL) have been certified to respond to the simulated emergencies to demonstrate their Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training. The CERT trainees are responsible to evacuate, treat, triage, and respond to the “victims” during the drill. The “victims” in the drill are volunteer student actors dressed in costumes with props to make the drill seem as real as possible.

For all intents and purposes, we hope our school can influence other schools and our community to follow our example of how a simulated emergency drill should look and feel. Earthquakes can occur at any time, and adopting drills like these can help reduce disaster and casualties in the real situation.

For more information on the emergency preparedness program, please contact Kyle Bashore at [email protected]

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