GLENDALE—After extensive preparation, Chamlian Armenian School carried out its first ever school wide disaster simulation drill on June 1. With the guidance of Alina Dorian, Assistant Director for UCLA Center for Public Health and Disasters, the administration planned a two hour drill, reenacting an actual earthquake.
For the past several months, Chamlian has been organizing and preparing to put a comprehensive plan into effect for emergencies such as earthquakes, fires, and other possible disasters. In the past, the fire and earthquake drills only consisted of evacuating classes in a timely and organized manner. This particular drill took it a few steps further. The staff and faculty were trained in CPR, first aid, and search and rescue procedures. The simulation included scenarios of possibly hurt staff and students, and how the pick-up process would work with parents, and etc.
Faculty, staff, and students did not know exactly what to expect on the day of the drill. Each staff and faculty member was assigned a role. At 9 a.m. the emergency bell rang for 60 seconds, symbolizing the duration of an earthquake. All teachers instructed their students to “Drop, Cover, and Hold,” as they had practiced in the past. After the bell, the students proceeded down to the main yard and lined up at the designated color coded class areas. Teachers quickly began to take roll to make sure all students were present. Team leaders then began to take on their responsibilities in the areas of Student Care, Security and Safety, Search and Rescue, Planning, Student and Staff Accounting, and Medical. Each staff and faculty member was previously trained in their designated areas.
Prior to the drill, several members of staff, faculty, and students were randomly selected to play the parts of victims with minor or major injuries such as broken legs, unconscious states, etc. Search and Rescue team members immediately geared up in their vests and hard hats in search of the victims and returned them to the medical station for evaluation and treatment by the medical team.
Student and Staff Accounting were stationed at the gates with rosters and emergency information for each student and staff/faculty member.
Support Services, with the help of 8th grade students, prepared drinks and snacks for the entire student body, faculty, and staff. They also set up tents and temporary bathrooms to equip the campus with the necessary facilities.
Both students and staff did not know what to expect from this earthquake simulation drill, which would indeed be the case in the event of a disaster. We were very pleased with the results of the drill and would like to thank and congratulate all of our faculty, staff, students, and parent evaluators for their participation, level of responsibility, and effort to work as a team.
The school thanked Dr. Alina Dorian, Anoush Mangassarian, and Coach Irene Nigossian, for organizing this entire event.