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Internal Newsletter

Emergency Procedures - Earthquake


To prepare the workforce for the probability, that a high magnitude earthquake will happen in the foreseeable future.  Proper preparation will prevent unnecessary injury to workforce members, persons served, and visitors and/or damage to agency material possessions.  In addition, being prepared assists in working to ensure essential agency services continue as necessary (refer to the agency’s Emergency Procedure Binder).


All workforce members will assist with preparedness and appropriate responses both during and after each earthquake to protect the safety and security of the workforce, persons served/(residents), and visitors.  The protection of life comes before concern for property.  Workforce members shall follow the procedures listed in this policy. All workforce members receive a training on this procedure at orientation and annually.  In addition, it is the responsibility of workforce members to also read and familiarize himself/herself with the agency Emergency Procedures Binders (located in each location/cottage/home).  At least one time a year an earthquake drill will be held involving all shifts and locations.


 1.  Preparations before an Earthquake:

   a)  Provisions of water, food, blankets, flashlights, a first aid kit, and a portable radio will be kept on-site at the facility for staff, persons served (residents), and visitors to use in the event of an earthquake.  Some provisions are located within the cottages/homes and others are located on-site at the main facility in the shed by the Joan Macy School.  In addition, water containers are located next to the cottages on the main campus.  Other items if accessible are located in the main kitchen, agency store, and in storage in the basement of the Whitney Building.  In the main kitchen’s storage room is a supply of emergency food located in grey containers (labeled with the contents).  Emergency supply items are to be checked at least annually and then replaced as needed. 

  b)  Large pieces of equipment should be secured to the wall and heavy. Objects should be placed low to the floor and not high up on shelves where they could fall and injure people.  All workforce members are responsible for working to create a safe environment and as needed submitting a maintenance request to secure large Items/furniture.

2.  During an Earthquake:

a)      Do not attempt to leave or enter the building during the active shaking.  All persons should take cover under a desk or table, covering their heads and neck with their arms in a crouched position.  If there is not a desk or table available, the next best place for safety is within a doorway that has no door to slam on body parts.  The third best option is along an inside wall (preferably a hallway) away from glass that may shatter.  

b)  Move away from glass windows, or any interior glass fixtures or equipment.  Avoid any contact with electrical appliances or telephone wires.

c)  Once in a safe position, do not move during the active shaking and for at least 30 seconds after the shaking stops, as strong aftershocks are a reasonable possibility.

3.  After an Earthquake:

a)      Evacuate the building only after it is deemed safe to do so.  Wait at least a couple of minutes after the shaking has stopped to ensure it is safe to move.  

b)      All the workforce, persons served(residents), and visitors should evacuate to the meeting area which for the main campus is on the open field in front of the dining room.  If this is deemed unsafe the on-duty supervisor shall direct everyone to an alternative location.  At other agency facilities, the designated meeting spot should be at least 100 feet from the building.   

c)      Workforce members are to make sure that everyone stays within the sight of each other.

d)      The on-duty highest ranking supervisory member has the responsibility to work with designated workforce to assess any damage and determine the appropriate steps. Workforce members at other locations shall attempt to contact the most senior on-duty supervisor to provide an update.

e)      If the power is off, turn on the battery powered radio to get instructions from the Civil Defense.  Help carry out the instructions.

f)       First aid should be administered to injured persons by any available medical personnel and/or those certified in First Aid.  Paramedics should be called as soon as possible in the event of a serious injury.

g)      If there is a question concerning wires or gas leaks, turn off all appliances.  If, and only if, you smell gas you should turn it off.  If there are downed wires, shut off the electricity if it is safe to do so and quarantine the area with something (could be cones, etc).

h)      Following an earthquake, the workforce members should provide support to the persons served/residents, and visitors by talking quietly to those that appear hysterical or excited.

i)   Guardians should be contacted as soon as possible to report on the status of the persons served (residents).  If there are significant injuries or death to a persons served, visitor, or workforce member, a Senior Leader will notify the appropriate parties when cleared to do so by emergency personnel. Should communication be cut off, workforce members will stay with persons served (residents) and visitors, providing emotional comfort, water, food, and shelter until one receives further instructions.

J)   If the media is on-site and/or attempts to communicate with any workforce member, the workforce member is to refer them to the Community Engagement Department and/or Executive Director.

k)   Designated workforce members shall coordinate with the supervisor to ensure everyone has been accounted for and is safe. 

l)    The agency will ensure that all workforce members and persons served/visitors will be assisted with accessing needed support services in helping manage trauma associated with the incident.

m)   If it is necessary to move the persons served (residents), on-duty workforce members will accompany them and stay with them during the emergency.  The place to which the persons served/(residents) will be moved to will be determined upon the scope of the devastation which maybe another agency facility and/or an off-site facility and if applicable as directed by emergency response personnel.

n)   The on-duty supervisor(s) will coordinate with Senior Leadership to ensure that all  applicable parties are notified, and any Incident Reports are completed for licensing, placing workers, other appropriate county/state/federal entities, and CARF.

4.  Earthquake Drills:

a)   Drills will be announced by a designated workforce member walking into a location and announcing the drill and/or using the agency walkie-talkies, or email.  It is expected that everyone on-site will participate in the drill until the all clear is given.  A designated workforce member which is typically an on-duty supervisor will be responsible for completing the Safety Drill sheet and turning it into the Director of Operations so it can be reviewed at the next agency’s Safety Committee meeting to identify any potential needed future action for improvement. 

Reminder Notes:   Agency Emergency Procedure Binders (Yellow in color/ located in each facility/group home in the cottage/group home staff office, reception front office, HR office at the Whitney Building, Intervention Office, Cafeteria, and THP, Foster Care, and Developments Administrative Assistants offices) have relevant information regarding Senior Leadership phone numbers, Business Continuity Plan, maps of facilities, utility shut offs, etc.  This binder also includes the identification and continuation of essential services.  One of these should be provided to emergency personnel on arrival.  The supervisor in charge is responsible for completing any necessary Incident Reports and notifying applicable parties (CCL, Probation, DCFS, ORR, etc.).

24/7 Agency Cell Phone:  (909) 957-1346 (can text or call)

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