Imagine if a large earthquake struck, pandemonium was rampant and emergency responders were not readily available. What would you do? That’s the scenario that was posed to 24 students of the City’s Community Emergency Preparedness Academy (CEPA) Thursday in a mock disaster drill.
The drill at the Mission Viejo Civic Center tested the skills the students – including 10 from the Teen Academy – learned during the emergency preparedness academy that began earlier this summer. It was the first event of its kind – combining adults and teens, highlighting the great asset teens can be during and after a disaster.
Responding to the scene after a mock 7.3-magnitude earthquake, students dealt with bruises, scrapes, burns, deep lacerations, broken bones and head and back injuries. They addressed victims with minor injuries; those with more severe wounds; and even the deceased. The program put their newfound knowledge to the test focusing on leadership, scene assessment, triage (sorting of victims), medical attention and evacuation.
The mock victims ranged from young children to seniors and included student family members and friends, Sheriff’s explorers, CEPA alumni, and adults with developmental disabilities recruited from Vocational Visions. The City is seeking to include preparedness efforts for all groups so we can learn from each other.
The academy, a component of Neighborhood Watch, is a 30-hour certified curriculum that follows FEMA guidelines for citizen emergency response teams. It includes law and fire disaster operations, fire safety, light search & rescue, CPR/First Aid/AED certifications, basic crisis intervention and neighborhood mobilization. The sessions include hands-on exercises where students extinguish real fires, extricate bodies from heavy debris and treat mock injuries in response to a simulated earthquake.
For more information, visit www.cityofmissionviejo.org/policeservices.