Monday, February 15, 2010

Earthquakes Revisited - Part Two

Last week, I wrote a blog about the Earthquake Preparedness Drill in Efrat - The drill was a preview of the earthquake preparedness drills that will soon be held in schools throughout the country.
According to Ministry of Education's Security Chief Yoav Cohen, because children spend a large part of their day in school, and because it may take a long time for rescue teams to get to locations throughout the country, schools (teachers, staff, students) must be prepared to respond to this emergency and know how to react without panic. Yoav said, "The key to success is the schools."
The key to a school's response is practice, he said. "When a child knows what to do, his actions are automatic, and he won't go into panic or hysteria."
Yoav Cohen spoke of earthquakes, but Yoram Levron (below, left) of the Jerusalem Division of the Home Front Command said the same preparations for earthquakes can be a model for other disasters - both natural and man-made - like terror attacks, missile attakcks and the horrors of war.
Yoram Levron's words last week were very sobering. It took me a week to report them, but I think it's important to know how to be prepared against disaster.
Yoram noted that in case of an earthquake or man-made disaster, we will most likely have no water and no means of communication.
He said that Home Front Command estimated 7500-16,000 killed, chas v'shalom, and 2,500-6,000 seriously injured. He said, "What will happen in those first hours will make the difference. The immediate response after a disaster is called The Golden Hour. In that time, you can save the most people."
"Because there are less forces than will be needed, that is why the school must be prepared, "Yoram said.
1) Go out to an open area
If you can't
2) Go to the MAMAD (safe room)
If you can't
3) Go to the stair case
If you can't
4) Go under a strong table and hold on to the legs
Yoram said that his team learned a lot in Haiti, and that if disaster strikes here, chas v'shalom, a million times, "We will need the help of other nations."
I'm sorry, but I groaned at those words. Other nations will not help us. Once we could have depended on America to come through with some aid, but today under the Obama Administration, I'm not sure they will either. We should never need them or anyone else. (I truly pray that we never need to be at the mercy of any nation for our survival.)
Yoram said that Haiti's huts, homes, buildings and major institutions were just destroyed, because their structures were poorly made. He mentioned that the older (50 year old) buildings in Jerusalem, Yaffo and Tel Aviv are also at risk of total collapse in case of emergency, G-d forbid.
1) Since all communications could go down, everyone should have a transistor radio with functioning batteries (like in the old days) or a short wave radio from which you can get information.
2) Because you might have to run from your home and coputers will NOT be functioning, you should have a folder PRINTED OUT with your important family information, including copies of your Teudat Zehut (and that of each family member), medical information, insurance and other important bureaucratic information. If you've got to run out, chas v'shalom, grab the folder and go. (My note: also grab a family photo album and Shabbat candle sticks.)
3) Since you don't know how long you're going to be without help, make a disaster kit that is easily accessible in your home. (Now, don't say, well, we might not have an earthquake for 100 years. Yes, IY"H, hopefully we won't have one then or ever. But remember, this is for any disaster, including one made by evil people or just people.) You should also have emergency money ready, long-lasting food, water, flightlights, first aid kit, medicine, whistles.
4) Have a functioning fire extinguisher to deal with fire from electric wires.
Today there are earthquake alerts. They can give a SIX SECOND WARNING. Six seconds is almost nothing, but it is still something. May Hashem watch over his people and protect them always.
To view the earthquake drill at the Orot Etzion Boys School in Efrat, click here:

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