Samantha Abbott and Lexi Villarreal learned valuable lessons in the safety drill.

Samantha Abbott and Lexi Villarreal learned valuable lessons in the safety drill.

Cathedral City High School held its annual disaster drill on Thursday, October 15th. The event goes hand in hand with the Great California Shakeout, which helps prepare all students in California for a massive 7.0 earthquake that could occur at any time.

The drill offers a vital tool to inform students how to properly evacuate during a disaster. Every year, more than 9 million people participate in the Great California Shakeout, but our school takes it a step further by bringing the disaster to life.

The Health and Environmental Academy of Learning (HEAL) has trained all of its seniors to be Community Emergency Response Team members (CERT). CERT members are responsible for treating, triaging, and assessing the vital signs of designated “victims” on campus. The “victims” who participated dressed up as injured students by using a variety of props, costumes, and makeup. Injuries ranged from minor cuts and bruises to bone fractures and even casualties.

During the drill, the “victims” were spread throughout the high school, where we saw rescuers tending to their needs. By simulating such a realistic disaster, HEAL students put their training to the test and learned how to take charge in an actual emergency.

As HEAL seniors ourselves, we were excited to be rescuers and transporters, and for the opportunity to test our training as a team. We rose to the challenge and gained valuable experience. All of the HEAL students did an outstanding job, and the “victims” brought the scenario to life.

However, the Cathedral City High School Disaster Drill benefitted everyone in the school. It helped students realize how catastrophic a natural disaster like an earthquake can really be. All students on campus learned what to do to stay safe and keep calm in a disaster. Teachers learned how to manage a disaster, while keeping students together and safe.

Hopefully, we will be able to encourage other health academies in the Coachella Valley to follow our lead. Disasters can strike at any time, but creating a drill like this can help reduce deaths and injuries in a serious situation.

For information on the Health and Environmental Academy of Learning contact Coachella Valley Economic Partnership’s (CVEP) Steve Biller (760) 340.1575.

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