Editor’s note: The editorials are intended to serve as a starting point for the discussion, not a conclusion. As part of the Daily Bruin’s commitment to its readers, the Board of Directors hopes to provide responsible and clear analysis of relevant events and news affecting the lives of those we serve, but our editorials do not represent the Daily Bruin’s views on the issues as a whole. We encourage all readers to reach out to our Board of Directors and respond to our editorials.
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The UCLA campus is nearly 100 years old, and with age comes problems. Faced with an ever-changing world, the editorial staff examines what the university can do to keep the Bruins safe from a torrent of dangers, both natural and man-made.
Being at UCSD long enough means experiencing one or two earthquakes.
Most of the time, it doesn’t seem like much. But for the times when an earthquake becomes more than a few seconds of confusion, UCLA needs to prepare its students, staff, and faculty for the worst.
UCLA has a certain level of earthquake preparedness, as all universities should have. After UCLA updated its earthquake policies in 2017, UCLA made plans to ensure its buildings comply with updated safety standards, according to the 2019 campus update. The university has also trained CERT members, building and district guards, in evacuation plans, first response, and rescue communications. with first responders. Senior leadership and emergency responders participate in regular simulations, too.
In the same update, officials said notification systems such as the BruinAlert app and Bruins Safe Online will provide information about what to do during the earthquake as well as real-time information during an emergency on campus.
With an influx of students who have never been to campus this fall, more Bruins than ever are not familiar with the insides and exits of buildings, campus safe areas and emergency protocols. This could create a hazard in the event of a major earthquake, which may not be far in the future. The San Andreas fault is located less than 150 miles from campus, and the last major earthquake caused by the fault was 161 years ago.
Everyone should feel confident knowing what to do during the earthquake first, and second, how UCLA will respond. Recent news of structural disasters, such as the building collapse in Florida and the Haiti earthquake, is a reminder that it’s not too early to start preparing for the next disaster.
Most of us know to stop, fall, and hide when the ground begins to shake, but what to do next remains a mystery. Administrators should do everything within their power to communicate clearly and regularly the university’s earthquake safety policies to students and staff.
For starters, UCLA can make sure all buildings have ample signage reminding Bruins of the best ways to get out of the building or the safest rooms to lodge. They should also educate students about which areas on campus and hills are safer during major earthquakes, whether it be via email, during class, or as a MyUCLA alert.
Yes, UCLA is a large campus – school-wide internships may not be the easiest to implement. But the exercises can give members of the community, especially those who may not be able to escape as easily as others, confidence in knowing how to handle the situation in real time. Internships can be quarterly in randomly selected buildings on campus.
California already holds a “Great ShakeOut” annually, where people across the state simulate an earthquake response. Requiring all students to participate in this event would be a great start in preparing the community for an earthquake.
Bottom line, officials need to inform students and staff of how the university will work with first responders during the onset of the earthquake and how it will support students in the aftermath.
UCLA is doing a good job improving earthquake preparedness — but that doesn’t mean the work is done.
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