News release from the Laguna Beach Unified School District:
LBUSD Fire and Disaster Preparedness: Keeping Students Safe
Recent brush fires in Laguna Beach are a reminder that fire season is here. Throughout the school year, student safety is the top District priority. El Morro Elementary School Principal, Chris Duddy, chairs the LBUSD Disaster Preparedness Committee and works alongside committee members Thurston Middle School Principal, Jenny Salberg and Director of Facilities, Grounds and Construction, Ted Doughty, Jr.
The District plan delineates steps to take in the event of various emergencies, including natural disasters like fires, earthquakes, and other emergency situations. In early October, Mr. Duddy, Ms. Salberg and Mr. Doughty will be attending an American Red Cross Academy training workshop. At the District and school sites, staff members have been trained in first aid and Automatic External Defibrillators (AED), which are visibly placed at each site.
The committee regularly reviews current protocols and best safety practices. Fire and evacuation drills are practiced throughout the year and the local fire department is invited to attend, observe and provide advice. If a Red Flag Warning is issued by the fire department, a Red Flag Day is announced and the school site(s) in the vicinity of the Red Flag warning are on high alert.
Additionally, Top of the World Elementary School posts volunteers on fire watch. In September, Top of the World Elementary students practiced evacuation to Laguna Beach High School. On October 18th at approximately 10:18 am, the schools will be participating in California’s Great ShakeOut earthquake drill in collaboration with the Laguna Beach Fire Department.
Mr. Duddy concludes, “Disaster Preparedness is a very important topic for us here in the Laguna Beach Unified School District. As most of us remember, these disasters can happen to us and the fire in 1993 is a stark reminder of that. Student and staff safety is our top priority, along with providing a high quality education to the students of this community. All the schools have plans in place to address a wide range of events from fires and earthquakes to hazardous material spills and lockdowns. We prepare as best as we can for whatever Mother Nature may throw at us and we have established a collaborative relationship with the fire and police departments who will support us in case of an emergency.”