Strap down your book shelves and prepare an earthquake survival kit, because the simple steps that many tend to overlook might save lives if disaster strikes.
On Tuesday, Oct. 9, Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) hosted a Disaster Preparedness Day at the CSUN Department of Public Safety to raise awareness about what community members and students can do to protect their families and help others in case of a fire, an earthquake, or any other disaster.
“I would like to see students get more involved with their personal preparedness,” said Kit Espinosa, CSUN emergency management and preparedness coordinator. “Because, if we are individually not prepared, the university is not prepared.”
The CERT program, which is coordinated by the Los Angeles Fire Department, offers one of many ways for students, faculty and staff members to learn about basic first aid and leadership skills necessary to provide help during emergencies.
Since its initiation in the 1980s, CERT has become an international volunteer program, Espinosa said. The idea behind the program was borrowed from Japan, where neighborhoods rely extensively on self-help due to frequent earthquakes.
CSUN has about 160 faculty and staff volunteers who have completed the CERT training. In case of an emergency on campus, these volunteers would cooperate with the Department of Public Safety and the President’s Office to help the victims and ensure safety on campus, Espinosa said.
“Ninety-five percent of us are helped in the disaster by each other,” Espinosa said.
However, many choose to ignore emergency preparedness until after a natural disaster like the 1994 Northridge earthquake occurs.
Mark Benthien, director for communication, education and outreach with the Southern California Earthquake Center, said, “Homework and term papers will take precedence over preparedness, but you’ll regret it because the big earthquake can happen any day.”
In case of an earthquake, life-saving precautions may be as simple as moving heavy objects lower to the ground and securing book shelves with heavy-duty straps, Benthien said. Preparing an earthquake kit, which includes a flash light, battery radio, emergency supply of water and food, is another way to prepare.
“But basically, it’s just being aware of your surrounding,” Benthien said. “It’s about knowing what you would do if an earthquake were to happen.”
Graduate student Jim Todd, who works at the Oviatt Library, said his boss suggested that he should attend the CERT event
While some of the booths at the event didn’t relate to emergency preparedness, booths with emergency supplies and safety kits offered more informative materials, Todd said.
“Since we do work on campus, it good for us to be as knowledgeable as we can,” Todd said “Just in case we’re here when there is an earthquake.”
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