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Earthquake Drill

Saturday, 17 October 2009, 10 am–12:00 pm

The earthquake: We imagine a large earthquake happening at exactly 10 am, Saturday, 17 October. It is big enough to cause injuries, structural collapses, fires, broken gas lines, telephone outages, downed power lines, and roads impassable by cars. The drill covers what we need to do in the first 90 minutes after the earthquake.

Purpose of the drill: The goal is to improve our preparedness for a disaster by developing and testing a response plan. We have formed teams in Fire Suppression, Light Search and Rescue, First Aid/Medical, Shelter/Logistics, and Communications. Many have taken CERT trainings in these areas, but we still need a plan for a coordinated response. Our plan is detailed in the document Northside EmPrep Emergency Response Plan [pdf].

Twelve emergency situations:  To test the plan, we will tape twelve envelopes to front doors of houses and telephone poles. Each envelope will display on the outside a one-paragraph description of an emergency. The envelope is to be opened by the response team and contains further instructions to them. The descriptions and instructions were designed by our teams to test their preparedness. They are given in the document Twelve Emergency Situations for the Earthquake Drill [MS Word].

Response to the emergency situations: Volunteers will respond according to the Northside EmPrep Emergency Response Plan [pdf]. They will search for the emergency situations (envelopes) and report them to the Incident Command. The appropriate response teams and equipment will be deployed. After reading the outside of the envelopes, the team will open them for further instructions. They will not actually enter houses, turn off gas, put out fires, bandage victims, or prop up walls with cribbing but will report back what they would have done with the equipment that they brought. They will complete the instruction form and return it to the Incident Command. At the end of the drill, we will give a briefing to the Berkeley Fire Department (or one of us as a stand-in) of our status and needs.

Volunteers for the drill: If you want to volunteer, please contact Tom Trippe at at (510) 529-5721.

Other neighborhood participation: If other neighbors wish to participate, they can place a white sheet in a front window to tell searchers that they are OK, as long as their house is not one of those with emergency situations (envelopes on the front door). They can also join one of our Response Teams by going to their Division’s assembly point and checking in with the Division Captain.

Good luck on the drill,
Tom Trippe
Captain, Northside EmPrep Group