Students at COC are reacting to the 8.9 tremor that hit the northeast coast of Japan, which caused a 23-foot tsunami and more than 100 aftershocks, while igniting over 90 fires.
The death toll is rising even with the aid of rescuers who are searching for survivors and victims. Although more than 5,500 miles separates Japan from California, many were still concerned about the events occurring in Japan.
The natural disaster that hit Japan struck a deeper nerve for some students at College of the Canyons. Joseph L. worries about the well-being of a close companion by stating, “I have a friend who recently moved to Japan, so I have been constantly checking Facebook”.
Social media sites have provided a way for the rest of the world to be connected to their loved ones and be updated with up to the second news. They have also been a tool used to show support for those affected. Omer Benyamin says, “[I] have a close friend. She has family over there, so we just pray that her family is okay.”
But sympathy was not the only feeling that came from students. Some students reacted to the quake as many people might – with fear. Natural disasters are almost impossible to predict and when they do occur, preparedness is always an issue.
It makes some wonder how safe College of the Canyons will be if a natural disaster were to occur. Cale Nichols says, “I know that they just redid a lot of the building structurally with the giant metal bars that are supposed to protect us from this. So I wouldn’t freak out. Yeah, the school’s pretty safe.” And it is true. New construction on campus, including Hasley Hall and the Mentry Hall expansion, were built with newer structural safeguards to ensure more security for students.
However, the only way to be the most safe is to be prepared. If you are on campus when an earthquake hits, it is important to make sure you have identified a space beneath a desk area, doorjamb or other solid structure where you can retreat for immediate safety.
Make sure that you know where fire extinguishers and hoses are in your classrooms. When you enter buildings on campus, make a special note of the nearest exits and stairs to evacuate the building safely and remember to never use elevators after an earthquake.
COC’s safety plan can be viewed at the COC Emergency Operations website.