The University of La Verne has taken extra precautions toward earthquake preparedness in light of recent earthquakes in the Los Angeles County to prepare students and faculty in case of emergency.
A campus-wide earthquake drill took place April 15 in every dorm at ULV. Drills were led by the resident advisers and each was trained on what to do in an event of an earthquake.
“I think these recent earthquakes were a big motivator to start a more serious procedure,” said Melissa Molinaro, senior liberal studies major and an Oaks resident adviser.
“RAs and other staff members ran drills in all of the residence halls to make sure students were aware of protocol,” she said.
The drills lasted about an hour and a half; however not every ULV student was included. The students who live at the Sheraton Hotel in Pomona did not participate in any earthquake drills.
“I do think that living in the Sheraton ensures safety,” junior criminology major and Sheraton resident Estrellita Guzman said. “However, we do not get the same preparation as those who live on campus.”
Senior Director of Central Services and Capital Planning Chip West said Sheraton residents did not participate in any drills because the University is not in a legal position to request or perform any evacuation activities in the hotel, which is on private property. However, the Sheraton does have its own protocol.
“The Sheraton property is required to perform in accordance with several similar requisite statutes as we rely upon for all University properties,” West said.
“We rely upon those hoteliers and other property managers, universities that offer visiting schools lodging on campus, and other proprietors to meet and maintain the same statutory requirements for a safer and more emergency-prepared lodging facility,” he said.
Recent earthquakes in Southern California, particularly the 5.1 quake centered in La Habra on March 29, have been a cause for concern for the ULV community.
West says each building on campus has been seismically tested to ensure the safety of students and faculty on campus.
“We have periodic inspections from the fire department every month that ensure all our safety standards are up-to-date,” West said. “All construction must adhere to the current safety standards, and the University has passed every standard over my tenure overseeing capital planning and construction.”
Students who live in residence halls said they feel at a disadvantage because of the time it would take to actually exit the building.
“When an earthquake happens, it happens so fast and you don’t expect it,” junior criminology major Yvette Hernandez, a Vista La Verne resident, said. “I wouldn’t be able to get out of the building quickly because I live on the third floor of Vista.”
Despite the earthquake drills, students still feel unsure of what to do in case of an earthquake.
“I feel like if there was a big earthquake I would feel unsafe because I wouldn’t know what to do,” resident sophomore kinesiology major Sahar Shahidi, a Vista La Verne resident, said. “Vista is very secluded and I’ve never had the opportunity to participate in the drills because I’m always in class.”
“I feel like the school isn’t doing much to prepare us for a giant quake, and the drills we have are very easy to be overlooked,” Shahidi said. “If it were mandatory to have an earthquake drill for all students we would feel better prepared.”
If earthquakes are a concern to any student on campus, the risk management department can provide a Red Cross approved checklist of information that includes a variety of trainings, workshops and safety presentations throughout the year for students, faculty and staff.
Kristine Delgadillo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.