You want to get your school ready for an earthquake. Before you get started, make sure you've developed a solid relationship with school administrators and teachers. You're going to need their support.
Find out what's already been done.
First, contact your school's Parent Teacher Association (PTA/PTO) and ask if there's anyone at your school working on earthquake preparedness. If they don't know, ask the Principal, Associate Principal, or staff member in charge of safety. Find out what, if anything, has been done so far. If there’s a seismic committee, join it. If not, create one. In everything that you do, keep it positive.
Offer Your Support
Above all, be respectful.
You won't get much accomplished without the support of your school's administrators and teachers. Don't bombard them with a list of complaints. They're busy - so busy. They have a lot of responsibilities (and stress), and they're short on resources. They also have to work within the policies and procedures of the union and the school district. Be respectful of the load they're carrying.
Approach the topic of school earthquake preparedness in a positive, supportive, and collaborative way. Administrators and teachers care about your children. Offer to be their ally in making the school more resilient. Try not to be critical of what has NOT been done at the school.
Resources for Educators
There are fantastic resources available that can help schools increase physical and emotional safety. Share these with your school's administrators.
- FEMA: PrepTalks: The Key to Building a Culture of Preparedness
- FEMA: PrepTalks: Children and Disasters – Reducing Vulnerability and Building Capacity
Structural Hazard Mitigation
Non-Structural Hazard Mitigation
- FEMA: School Hazard Hunt
- Parents4Preparedness: School Hazard Hunt Checklists
- FEMA: Guide to Improving School Natural Hazard Safety
- FEMA: Reducing Risks of Non-Structural Earthquake Damage
- The Great Shakeout: Manuals and Planning Resources
- Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction: School Emergency Supplies and Go Kit Suggestions
Parent / Child Reunification
- I Love U Guys Foundation: The Standard Reunification Method
- FEMA: Student Tools for Emergency Planning (STEP): A Curriculum for 4th and 5th Grade Students
- Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology: Lessons, Lectures and Videos
- Earthquake Engineering Research Institute: Classroom Education and Outreach
Info for Childcare Providers
- Multnomah County: Childcare Center Crisis/Disaster Response Handbook
- FEMA: What Every Childcare Provider Should Know
- Parents4Preparedness: Help Kids Cope
- Colorín Colorado: Helping Children After a Natural Disaster
- NCTSN: Teacher Guidelines for Helping Students After an Earthquake
- NCTSN: Guidance for School Personnel: Students Who Had a Loved One Die in the Earthquake