CHECKLIST FOR SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS AND FACULTY
I had needed to evacuate students, I don't know where
I would have taken them. The campus was a mess: trees
down, glass, stuff fell off the buildings and was lying
all around, water mains were leaking and making geysers
in the play field." -Principal, Northridge Earthquake,
Remember – during an earthquake, evacuation
should NEVER be automatic.
an earthquake (now), survey your school with evacuation
in mind. Look for potential post-earthquake hazards
INSIDE the building:
There may be more danger outside your building or
facility than there is inside.
There may be no safe assembly area outside. There
may be no clear routes to get outside, and alternate
routes may need to be cleared.
The lighting inside your building or room will probably
be out--it may be DARK
Before any decision is made to vacate all or part
or a school, someone must find out that there is:
a safe route out and
a safe place to assemble the students outside.
Suspended ceilings - Pendant light fixtures - Large
windows--either exterior or interior--not protected
against shattering - Tall bookcases or cabinets that
may topple because they are not bolted to the wall
- Classroom equipment such as computers, TVs, VCRs,
stereos, and slide projectors - Stairwells - Science
labs, especially chemistry - Storage areas for cleaning,
painting, or other hazardous materials - Shop areas
- Places where the main gas supply or electric current
enters the building.
Designate evacuation routes that avoid as many of
those areas as possible. In addition, decide on alternate
routes to your main routes.
Consider students with disabilities as you think about
your evacuation routes.
Make sure staff knows what to do and where to go if
the students are already outside the facility when
the earthquake happens.
Look for potential post-earthquake hazards OUTSIDE
Power lines - Trees - Areas near buildings that may
have debris fall on them--parapets, roof tiles, chimneys,
glass - Routes past concrete block walls - Covered
walkways - Places under which large gas mains run
- Areas near chain link fences (which can be electric
shock hazard if touched by live wires) - Hazardous
materials storage areas.
Designate open areas outside that are without overhead
hazards and removed from potential danger spots; choose
one, off-campus spot such as a park for back-up.
Assembly areas should be as close to the facility
as is safe so that students and staff have easy access
to bathrooms, phones, and the student release point.
Designate who will have the responsibility to assess
conditions after a quake and report findings to administration
"After the shaking stopped, I just wanted
to get those kids out of there as fast as I could,
but luckily I looked out the door first--trees, bricks
and wires all over. It's a good thing we didn't leave
the building." - Daycare program teacher, Santa
Inform everyone about evacuation plans:
the earthquake, gather information and make
Once routes and assembly areas have been chosen,
make floor plans and maps and distribute to all
Inform all personnel and students about the plans
made and the routes chosen.
Have all substitute teachers review the plan before
starting each class.
Make it clear that a post-earthquake evacuation
route differs from a fire evacuation route, and
that alternate routes may need to be used
Include all students and staff with disabilities
in the drills and exercises
Hold drills and exercises two or three times
a year; practice alternate routes.
Evaluate your drills and exercises and make changes
Assess the situation--inside and outside - Decide
whether to evacuate all or parts of buildings.
- Choose the route(s) and the assembly place -
Communicate directions to all teachers
Do NOT automatically rush your class out
into the corridor or outside the building.
to hear instructions from an administrator,
or the designated scout. In circumstances
in which you wait a long time without hearing
anything, you will have to make decisions
If you are in an unsafe classroom--the ceiling
has collapsed, wires are crackling, broken
glass or chemicals are all over the floor,
you smell gas or smoke--you will want to leave,
BUT you must inspect for damage before you
move to safety.
Have another teacher watch your students while
you find the best way to evacuate and the
safest place to go . You may not need to go
outside to the assembly area, but merely move
from one inside room to another.
Account for all your students before you leave
the classroom. If the classroom damage
forces your class to evacuate, take injured
students with you ONLY if moving them will
not cause further injury. If you must leave
an injured student, try to protect the student
from items that might fall during aftershocks.
Post a large, visible sign indicating the
student is there. The lights will probably
be out and it may be dark--ALWAYS have a flashlight
Be alert, as you lead students down stairwells
or corridors to anything (dangling lights
and ceiling struts, broken glass, slippery
floors) that could hurt them or you. In
an aftershock, everyone should duck and cover
until the shaking stops.
Once you get to a safe location, communicate
your location to the administrator by whatever
methods have been specified in your plan--sending
a runner, using a walkie-talkie, or returning
to your classroom to post a note.