College lacks adequate preparedness supply
Emergency plans need more attention
Published: Monday, October 28, 2013
Updated: Monday, October 28, 2013 18:10
A mere 15 seconds in 1989 was enough to shake the confidence of the entire San Francisco Bay Area.
The Loma Prieta Earthquake, a 6.9 moment magnitude earthquake, according to the United States Geological Survey, caused billions of dollars in property damage, claimed 63 lives and injured 3,757 people.
Sociology department Chairperson Manu Ampim said he was in Germany when the earthquake happened.
“I grew up in California, so earthquakes have never bothered me,” Ampim said. “When I got back to the states after 1989, the first little jolt I felt, something was different. The first tiny little earthquake caused everyone in the room with me to freak out. I had never seen it before.”
The Loma Prieta showed that the Bay Area simply was not prepared for a major earthquake. Plans would need to be drafted, buildings better prepared and supplies gathered.
In the event of a major earthquake, employees of Contra Costa College are instructed to refer to the Earthquake Disaster Plan and Emergency Operations Plan in the Procedures Handbook.
Marshall Alameida, director of the nursing department and safety monitor for the Health Sciences Building, said that being able to calmly refer to the safety instructions and act accordingly during a major earthquake is easier said than done.
“We (building monitors) should be committing this to memory,” Dr. Alameida said. “(During an emergency) you wouldn’t have the time to play with a checklist.”
The Contra Costa Community College District has a system in place to deal with any emergency that may arise on campus: all three of the colleges in the district have a Police Services department on their campus, staffed by a lieutenant in charge of campus safety.
CCC’s is Lt. Jose Oliveira.
“There use to be a district safety coordinator in charge of overseeing campus preparedness,” Lt. Oliveira said. “That position has been eliminated due to budget cuts, though.”
Oliveira said that Police Services runs evacuation drills on two buildings each month throughout the academic year. He said the average evacuation time per building is around three to four minutes.
“That’s really fast. I’m very pleased with our evacuation drills,” he said.
CCC also has a Safety Committee, which meets once a month to discuss safety concerns on campus, and many members of the committee are responsible for the general preparedness on campus. Director of Business Services Mariles Magalong is the chairperson of the Safety Committee.
Oliveira said that each building has a set of building monitors, who are staff or faculty members designated to safely facilitate evacuation and make sure that all students have exited the facility in the case of an emergency.
The building monitors are given an emergency kit filled with a variety of items that are supposed to assist them in commanding the situation and assisting students in need.
The kits come equipped with such items as emergency blankets, a first-aid kit, a safety monitor ID vest, a hard hat and a flashlight. Each building monitor is responsible for maintaining his or her kit.
Each monitor is also given a bright yellow “Contra Costa Community College District Safety Monitor Manual,” which details the plan for emergencies such as bomb threats, fires or earthquakes. The manual also contains a checklist detailing what is supposed to be in each kit.
Safety monitors are encouraged, but not required, to also become Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) volunteers, and receive CERT training. Magalong said she is unsure which safety monitors have completed the training, but that she believed some had.
The list of who is a building monitor and for which building is posted on CCC’s website, www.contracosta.edu.
Ampim is listed as a building monitor for the Liberal Arts Building, but he said that he has not been a safety monitor for some time.
“I’m not sure who it is for the LA Building,” Ampim said. “I used to be one, but I’m not anymore. They don’t really alert people when the assignments change.”
Oliveira said building monitors are also supposed to have access to walkie-talkies that they have to periodically check in with, to ensure they are working. He also said building monitors have keys to emergency cabinets, which are supposed to be located in each building.
The emergency cabinets are supposed to be stocked with food, first-aid kits, blankets and other supplies necessary for an emergency, Oliveira said.
Building monitor for the Health Sciences Building Dr. Cheri Etheredge said, “I’m not aware of any cabinets anywhere.”
Senior electronics technician and building monitor for Physical Sciences Building Jeffrey Kamalian said, “They gave me a megaphone, but no, there’s no cabinet filled with food in my building.”
Kamalian said that during an earthquake he would rely on his common sense in order to assist students in need.
Oliveira noted that each police officer on campus is trained in CPR and first-aid, a requirement to graduate from the Police Academy.
Safety of buildings