Students learn about disaster preparedness

Michael Ares and Michael Ares

Students were informed of the hazards of earthquakes, ranging from fires to flash floods, landslides and even power outages at the American Red Cross Disaster Preparedness Workshop held at Cerritos College on Tuesday, Sept. 18.

The workshop was lead by Phil Wendel, the chair of the Public Information Officers for the American Red Cross.

“It (earthquakes) is a major issue in California, this workshop is aimed to give general information on how to prepare for such events,” Wendel said.

Students were encouraged to bolt down key items in their house, for example a china cabinet to a wall.

One tip that Wendel stressed was to keep a pair of shoes always on the side of your bed.

“We have found more injuries to people’s feet when they are trying to run around the house, rather than injuries actually from the earthquake. Those injuries are usually caused by broken glass on the ground,” he said.

According to Wendel, a huge amount of injuries that are caused by the earthquake are from flying debris.

He also encouraged students to keep a gallon of drinking water safe for emergencies.

Using cell phones after an earthquake was discouraged.

“These things (cell phones) are not going to work, because the cell phone will be overloaded immediately.”

However students were informed that they are still able to text following an earthquake.

In the event of an earthquake in which a victim is indoors, he/she should find cover underneath something sturdy like a table. Wendel said, “Make sure to drop, get to cover, and hold on.”

If a victim is caught outside during an earthquake, Wendel advised for him/her to move away from buildings, street lights, trees and seek out a clear location.

Wendel covered some basic tools to have in case of an earthquake such as duck tape to fix broken windows or a broken arm, flashlights in case of a power outage, and can openers for food.

Battery operated radios are also recommended so that victims can stay up to date with news of the earthquake from their local news station.

Nursing major Edith Arzola attended the workshop not only for herself, but so that she could share the knowledge that she learned to her family.

“I felt that my family and I were unprepared in our home for something like this, and I wanted to learn more about how to be better prepared so that I could help my family and make us feel more secure,” she said.

Technology Program Assistant Veronica Elias feels better prepared in the event of another earthquake and said, “I feel ready for an earthquake now that I know of all the things that I need for one.”

Wendel expressed that he thinks that most students don’t feel the need to learn about being prepared for a disaster.

“I think that students don’t see the need to be prepared. They may have the mentality of ‘it’s not going to happen to me’. They may think that if something where to occur that somebody else will take care of them, when they fail to realize that they actually need to take care of themselves first.”

Wendel believed that if he can get one person to be motivated to change things in their households, that he has done his job.

“People can be so busy into their everyday lives that they don’t even bother to learn about this kind of stuff. If they can change one or two things in their household, then we are better off, and I have been successful.”