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If disaster strikes, local residents are ready

Staged scenarios involve first aid and fire suppression

by Teresa Lara
Ana Flores preps for the worst. (USC Photo/Gus Ruelas)
Ana Flores preps for the worst. (USC Photo/Gus Ruelas)

A part of the University Park Campus served as the site of a faux disaster to help community members apply what they had learned in a seven-week emergency preparedness course.

The training aimed to help the surrounding community gear up for an extreme event, such as a massive earthquake.

“The university is prepared for such emergency — and we want to assure that community members have that similar sense of security and confidence in knowing what to do, how to respond and how to help one another,” said Bill Regensburger, USC Fire Safety & Emergency Planning director.

 “These realistic simulations are an important part of building that confidence.”

Five staged scenarios included search and rescues, first aid, psychological first aid, fire suppression and a communication center. 

Members learned how to manage an extinguisher, how to prioritize if a person is trapped under debris and how to bandage an open wound.

While most public spaces are mandated to have these drills, this is one of the first to incorporate community involvement, particularly at a university.

“Our goal is to have emergency preparedness captains on every block,” Regensburger said, “to be proactive and prepared should such an emergency arise.”

The effort was a collaboration among the USC Fire Safety & Emergency Planning Office, USC Civic Engagement, CREATE, the Los Angeles Fire Department and the Los Angeles Police Department.

More than 100 community members, including participants in USC’s Kid Watch, became certified.

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