Are you prepared for the worst?


By Clarion Editorial Board

You cannot put a price tag on life. Every passing second during an emergency is critical as to whether one lives or dies.

So ask yourself: If a catastrophic event were to happen this very moment, would I be prepared?”

Four minutes is an eternity for those caught in an emergency scenario.

That is how long it took Santa Monica College gunman John Zawahri to conduct his rampage last June across that campus and in the SMC library.

Thanks to previous training, nine students and staff members who were in the library at the moment of the shooting managed to hide on the floor of a safe room, saving their own lives.

At Citrus College, several hundred faculty and staff attended safety-related workshops on their Feb. 19 Flex Day. Without a doubt they are now better equipped to effectively assess and take action in an emergency situation.

Students can also view the emergency preparedness video shown to college employees.  The video can be found on the “Ready Houston” YouTube channel in the Run, Hide, Fight.® series. The videos are presented in several different languages – including English, Spanish, and Mandarin – along with subtitles in the effort to be accessible to as many people as possible.

All of this is great. However, students at Citrus – and any other college or workplace for that matter – need to take a more active role in safety training. Developing a survival mindset, along with practical training might someday help them save their own lives and the lives of others.

If the recent rash of earthquakes rattling the West Coast is any indication, the time for an emergency evacuation drill is now. In the last two weeks, a 6.8 magnitude quake occurred off the Northern California coast and on Monday a 4.4 temblor rocked the LA basin.

Both seismic events spawned numerous aftershocks in their respective regions, giving rise to the very real possibility that these quakes may be “foreshocks” of the inevitable Big One.

According to the United States Geological Survey, a branch of an ancient fault line runs directly underneath the Citrus College campus. Ladies and gentleman, our biggest danger may be directly below our feet.

It is of concern that many native Californians have become desensitized and complacent especially after almost two decades of minor seismic events.

An opportunity for students to participate in a campus-wide practice drill will take place tomorrow. A campus evacuation will occur between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

This drill will help familiarize students and staff with safe evacuation routes as directed by emergency personnel during a campus emergency.

Time spent now preparing for such an event is well invested.

If you are on campus when the drill commences, take it seriously and participate fully. Learn what role you play in an evacuation scenario. Is your own peace of mind worth passing up for a Chipotle burrito or Starbucks latte?

In the event of a real catastrophic event, inexperience and lack of training could lead to paralyzing indecision and potential harm.

Don’t let it happen to you.

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