Monday, February 8, 2010

Preparing for Natural and Unnatural Earthquakes - Part One

Just over two years ago in November 2007, Israel shook from two earthquakes measuring 3 and 4.2 on the Richter scale. It originated at the Northern Dead Sea, but while things were quaking in Maale Adumim they were shaking in Herzelia too. Compared to other quakes around the world, like the 7.5 earthquake in Haiti, that was nothing.
After Haiti's devastating earthquake, everyone in the world is thinking about earthquake preparedness. GOOD NEWS. Israel is actually doing something about it.
This morning I attended a full morning of Earthquake Lectures and Exercises. It was thrilling and terrifying and actually calming, once it was over.
Efrat's community was chosen as the first to participate in the national earthquake drills, which were held in the Orot Etzion Boys School after a full morning of lecturers on the the threat of earthquakes and how Israel's educational system is preparing.

Students in every school are being trained to assist Magen David Adam, fire fighters and Chilutz v'Hatzala. These children are being trained to react (under supervision of course) in a matter of seconds.
The drill began - Earthquake drill. Simulation of an earthquake 6.7 on the Richter Scale. Its epicenter is in the Northern Dead Sea.
Students were told to climb under their desks and hold on to the legs of the desk, so that it doesn't shake away. Then they were evacuated to the basketball court, which is an open area away from the walls of the school.
Three students were "missing," and rescue forces scanned the area, and found them "injured." They were carried out, treated and taken away in an ambulance.
Then small "fires" broke out, because of the broken electric wires, and students (along with firemen) used fire extinguishers to put out the fires. Larger fires are handled solely by the Fire Department.
An injured student was trapped on the roof, and rescue workers tied him to a board and snappled him down from the roof. Everyone held his breath.
The Search and Rescue Division of Home Front Command demonstrated how their innovative devices raise cement walls, and work in different ways to rescue individuals trapped in rubble. As one of the boys said, "It was amazing!" B"H, we have these abilities. We should just not need them.
The drill ended in a very orderly manner.
More to write about it. It will have to wait until tomorrow.

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