Emergency procedures necessary
Campus expects better planning
Published: Thursday, October 15, 2009
Updated: Thursday, October 15, 2009 05:10
The trailer contains items such as lanterns, flashlights, pillows and blankets.
Custodial manager Darlene Poe, who is also on the Safety Committee, said the college would be swift to help another local organization in need, just as they would hope outside agencies would help the college in dire circumstances.
But the disaster supply cabinets, which are equipped with small stashes of water, food and nonperishables throughout seven locations on campus, are outdated or inconsistent, as shown through uneven distribution and masses of expired goods.
Diestler said that during an emergency situation, the cabinets are meant to ensure campus occupants sustenance for at least 72 hours while they wait for outside agencies' help.
Magalong, who also acts as director of business services, said the group is in charge of purchasing supplies and replenishing the cabinets at least once a year. The task, however, has not yet been completed for the 2009-10 academic year, she said.
In addition to building monitors, physical education department Chairman and men's basketball coach Miguel Johnson said many professors and coaches in the athletic department are trained to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
They have a stretcher, wheelchair and other supplies that would be helpful if needed, Johnson said.
Spreading the word
Modern communication has been made easier due to the accessibility of e-mail and cellular devices, but improvements are still needed.
When former police aide Edgar Rocha was shot just outside campus grounds at the corner of Shane Drive and Mills Drive in November 2007, the college implemented a shelter-in-place procedure.
Magalong said college personnel contacted teachers via telephone and e-mail. She said it was impossible to inform everyone, however, especially if they were not near their devices.
"Another issue was that some people said there was not enough information," Magalong said. "They knew to shelter-in-place, but they didn't know why."
Art department co-Chairman John Diestler, also a building monitor, recalled a shelter-in-place a few years ago after the college learned of a possible chemical spill at the Chevron Corporation refinery in Richmond.
"I remember walking around telling people to stay in buildings," Diestler said. "We needed to physically tell people, get the word out."
This semester, the district introduced a new emergency alert system at CCC, Los Medanos College and Diablo Valley College and its San Ramon campus. The system utilizes outdoor sirens that would quickly alert the public to shelter-in-place should a hazardous incident happen.
Magalong said one problem within the system is that a different sound indicating campuswide evacuation is not in place, because the development team figured it would be difficult for most people to differentiate the two.
The system is still new and the Safety Committee is still working on updating the campus safety procedures, which is available on their Web site.
Also, emergency telephone kiosks are located throughout campus, and building monitors should have access to two-way radios that communicate directly with Police Services.
Diestler said more communication methods should be proactively created, because in a disaster, "we can't rely upon our emergency communication systems to be active."
Educating the student body
As the oldest college in the district, nearly all of the buildings on campus present seismic concerns.
During the summer, the Liberal Arts Building, a structure with considerable traffic throughout the day, was seismically retrofitted to strengthen the building, Magalong said.
"The fault lines are a concern, of course, whenever we have a renovation or reconstruction," she said. "We study the dangers very carefully."
In addition to strengthening the buildings, paper postings of evacuation plans were replaced a few years ago with permanent placards.
But besides noting the placards, students said that more information about campus safety preparedness is needed on their end.
"In high school, there were always fire drills and such. We knew where to go if there was something wrong," international business major Sarita Deleon said. "It's not like we're kids, but (students) spend a lot of their time here. We need to know an organized method to avoid chaos."
Nursing major Ileen Quimora agreed.
"It would be helpful if teachers took a few minutes to explain the emergency procedures in the beginning of the semester."
While Tarp agreed that educating students in these areas is important, professors might argue that it takes away valuable time needed to teach their class curriculum.
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