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Emergency Preparedness: How to be ready when it's unexpected

Published: Saturday, April 7, 2012

Updated: Saturday, April 7, 2012 16:04

It'll never happen to us, right?

Being prepared for an emergency can feel like betting against yourself and hoping you'll lose: You invest time in a skill you hope you'll never need.

Dixie State College doesn't run any practice earthquake, tornado, or other natural disaster drills nor does it practice an armed intruder drill, gas leak drill, or any other emergency type preparedness. Do administrators assume college students should already know what to do during these types of emergencies? Or are students prepared, and they just don't know it?

"Being prepared for an emergency means everything," said Malinda Whipple, co-coordinator for the EMT program on DSC's campus. "But it's really hard to determine what being prepared for an emergency means, there are so many types of emergencies and proffesors learn what to do at Orientation."

David Potocki, a freshman health major from Phoenix said there are about 35 emergency medical technicians on campus to help in the event of a medical emergency.

"Our job is to stay and assist if anything happens," Potocki said. "If we don't stay and assist we could lose our certificates."

Potocki said although he hasn't had to assist in any emergencies on campus he feels as if his job is very important.

"You never know when you're going to be called to a scene or have to help out," Potocki said.

Corey Lemieux, a junior automotive major from Beaver Dam, Ariz., said he thinks being prepared for any emergency is important because it could happen unexpectedly.

"I honestly wouldn't know what to do if Dixie were under any type of emergency," Lemieux said. "I would hope friends and instincts would kick in."

DSC has an online brochure, also available at the campus services office, that lists what to do and what not to do during emergencies such as natural disasters, blood borne pathogen exposure, and chemical spills.

It's meant for students, teachers and family members to read and become aware.

The brochure lists how to properly evacuate the building, how to make sure somebody who's disabled is able to evacuate as well, and what to do in each type of situation.

While DSC seems to be prepared for the aftermath many students would not know how to react in state of an emergency or where to take cover.

"Faculty and staff should be required to let students know how to handle those kinds of scary situations," Potocki said. "Otherwise it's going to be chaos."

Whipple said there are no current policies in place that require teachers to keep students aware of what to do in emergency, although all teachers must go through an orientation that teaches them what to do and who to call in the event of an emergency they aren't required to read any brochures or place posters in their classrooms.

Along with the brochure, The Federal Emergency Management Agency lists four guidlines to keep students and families prepared for any type of emergency.

1. Be Prepared:

According to FEMA or www.ready.gov, being prepared means knowing what to do before and after an emergency has occured. Do not wait until the disaster has struck to search for what you should have done.

2. Make a Plan:

Know what you need to be prepared for before and after a potential natural disasters in that area. Plan for your risks and plan for yourself and your family.

3. Build a Kit:

Prepare a kit full of granola bars and/or non perishable items. As well as water and basic emergency injury needs. Place the kit in a dry easily accessible area and re-stock or change out food every six months

4. Get involved:

Figure out opportunities to get involved with the community in letting others know how to be prepared for an emergency.

Potocki said he loves being an EMT but is OK with the lack of emergencies on campus and hopes there never be a huge emergency.

Whipple said DSC is currently working on a campus wide emergency project that they plan on implementing into the classroom setting, requiring teachers and students to tell their students what to do in case of natural disasters or medical prepardness.

"I think everybody should take a basic medical emergency class or at least become CPR certified," Whipple said. "It's important enough for daily living, as so that students would know what to do if somebody fell in front of them having a seizure." 

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