The Importance of Preparation

By Chloe Schaeffer ’21After Harvey and Irma, can a thinly stretched FEMA come through for Puerto Rico?

Hurricane Harvey. Hurricane Irma. Hurricane Maria. 8.1 and 7.1 magnitude earthquakes in Mexico. Wildfires in Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon and Colorado. South Asian floods that have displaced 40 million people. La Tuna fires just 30 minutes from the Upper School.

Mother Nature bombarded the earth with one devastating natural disaster after another, and the impact has echoed across the world. Although these phenomena devastated the places they’ve hit, they brought communities together and built bonds among volunteers, first responders, fundraisers, politicians and victims. Even at school, students and faculty have been working together to fundraise and volunteer.

In order to raise funds for disaster relief, Ms. Simon’s Girl’s Club and Emma Limor ’21 headed Natural Disaster Relief Day, including the fundraiser with CoolHaus Ice Cream to raise money for the Houston Food Bank.

“The victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas really need our support. All the necessities like shelter and food are absent. We need to help these people simply because we have the ability to, and because we have the necessary connections,” Limor said.

In addition to helping the national and international community recover, these natural disasters may also leave students wondering what precautions the school is taking in the event a natural disaster were to affect the campus.

“We are prepared for any kind of catastrophe that could happen on campus,” Attendance and Health Coordinator Brenda Simon said of the school safety measures. According to Simon, the key is to keep it simple.

“During a real emergency, the simpler you can keep it, that will produce more results. You don’t need complication when you are already in a complicated situation,” she said.

Simon also spoke of improvements the school is making in the wake of all of these natural disasters.

“We are working on an app that will tell you exactly what to do in case of an emergency. It will first be rolled out to the faculty and then the students and parents,” Simon said.

These natural disasters may also raise a question about how people can stay safe at home.

“In Southern California we are concerned about fires and earthquakes, where you have to evacuate quickly and don’t have time to gather everything in the moment. That’s why it’s important to have a grab bag,” LA County Sheriff Mark Robertson said.

In the bag, he recommends having the following: A flashlight, two weeks’ worth of prescription medicines, batteries, a first aid kit, water and a Multi-Tool. Robertson also said that it is important to have an evacuation plan with family.

These recent natural disasters have been devastating, and it is very important that the school joins together to help build back communities abroad as well as re-evaluate the safety precautions students are taking at home.

 

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