(From left) CERT members Violeta Zahrae and Melissa Klimowicz and CERT Program Manager, Officer Andrew Craven. Ryan Murphy | Lariat
Saddleback College students, faculty and staff participated in Great ShakeOut procedures among emergency personnel who did schoolwide disaster response systems checks, Thursday, Oct. 20. The Community Emergency Response Team facilitated the event in coordination with the Saddleback College Police Department.
Emergency personnel encountered a glitch in the mass notification system the morning of the event. The system glitch could have resulted in delayed emergency notifications, however, it was fixed shortly before the ShakeOut event began.
“While everyone else thought everything was going smoothly, I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off,” said Officer Andrew Craven, the CERT program manager.
At 10:20 a.m., a pre-recorded message was broadcast over speakerphone on every Saddleback landline telephone, instructing the Saddleback population to follow earthquake procedures. The procedures were also outlined in an email sent to the Saddleback community three days before the event.
“Drop, Cover and Hold on!” the email said. Then “evacuate the building.”
The phone notification added to the evacuation procedures, directing participants to “follow the direction of the CERT members.” CERT members wore green vests with yellow “CERT” designation and hard hats.
CERT members undergo 24 hours of training in evacuation procedures, search and rescue, medical operations and first aid, Craven said. They undergo additional training to maintain preparedness in the case of an emergency scenario.
“If there is a bad day, if something happens and it’s an area-wide emergency, first responders are going to be stretched thin,” Craven said. “We aren’t going to be getting the fire department right away, possibly.”
While the ShakeOut happens once every year, the Saddleback College website has resources for earthquake and other disaster preparedness.