Are We Ready for the Big One?
How SF State will prepare for the next big earthquake
September 23, 2005 1:38 PM
“Duck and cover.” This is more or less the extent of knowledge that San Francisco State students have on earthquake preparedness.
However, the “big one” will strike, and when it does there won’t be an emergency crew or rescue team to save you, it will most likely fall on you to protect yourself, and render aid and assistance.
According to officials, the SFSU Health Department and the SFSU Public Safety Department are prepared to deal with an emergency but many students are still blurred on what to do or where to go.
In order to help students prepare, the Department of Public Safety has posted an Emergency Procedure Handbook on their Web site, http://www.sfsu.edu/~dps/emergency/. They also mention that in case of an earthquake, the safest place to evacuate is Cox Stadium, which is located behind the Gymnasium, between the Parking Garage and Thornton Hall.
Albert Angelo, a Health Educator at the Health Center agrees that Cox Stadium is the safest place to go to but, "the most important thing is immediate safety, try to find an open space and stay away from windows.”
Most students are aware of the high risk of an earthquake, however, the diversity of reasons offered for not being prepared mirror the diversity of SF State.
“I kind of know what to do when it happens, go under something. But I've never heard anyone say how to get prepared,” said Jennifer Young, a Liberal Studies sophomore.
Most students, like Young, have been taught that going "under something" is the best option, however, Angelo said differently. "It's actually better to go beside something and not under, so you don't get pinned down if (what you are under) collapses."
Andrew Parks, a Psychology senior from Sacramento is aware that preparing an earthquake kit is a good idea, however he doesn't plan to live in San Francisco for more than a year.
“If I had an experienced (an earthquake), maybe I would prepare (for one),” said Parks.
For those not able to find time between work and school to gather the necessary gear, the American Red Cross sells emergency backpacks online. They range from $49.95 to $64.95 and take one to two weeks to ship. They include everything one might need in the case of an emergency.
Another reason mentioned by students for not being prepared is the matter of spending $50 or $60 for something that might not be needed.
“$60 (for the Red Cross Kit) is too much for students,” said Gina Dotto, a Liberal Studies senior.
Cost was also a prohibitive factor for Maria Duran, an International Business junior who said she would buy the kit “if it was inexpensive.”
Cheaper options are available for those that can’t or won’t pay $60.
First Aid kits are available at Target, they range from $14.99 to $29.99 and are approved by the Red Cross, and Wal-Mart also carries a First Aid Kit for $19.78 as well as flashlights, radios, blankets, canned food and tools.
On the other end of the spectrum, there is the Ultimate Emergency Preparedness Kit for $99.99. It even includes “an emergency light that works when plugged into any outlet, even if the power is out. “
"The biggest thing besides the (emergency kit) is communication. Put a 'in case of emergency' number in your phone so if anything happens, I can just take your phone and call your family," said Angelo.
Captain Amalia Borja of the Department of Public Safety also advises students to have minimum prepared.
After an earthquake, the local phone lines are likely to be out. Angelo advises to designate a friend or relative living outside the area to be the link between you and the people concerned about your safety.
"There are basic things that we all should have, like water, food, a flash light, a first aid kit and cash, like $25 in case the ATM machines don't work," said Angelo. "And if money is the reason for not preparing, build your own (emergency) kit little by little."
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