I’ve been wanting to teach an earthquake disaster drill in my Relief Society for a long time, and I finally had my chance a few weeks ago. As I was preparing my presentation I began struggling. I had ideas, but they were not working. The thought came to me to share the class with the wards around me. What? That was a huge undertaking. But my anxiousness calmed down, and I contacted my Relief Society presidency. It was a go!
I contacted the other Relief Society leaders, and they wanted to join us too! I was so excited. It just so happened that the date of the event was on 9/11, so many of us were dealing with memories of that day.
I shared a PowerPoint presentation about earthquake preparation and what we might face if the Big One happened here in Utah. My goal was to empower the women and help them see that working together they can face any challenge. We need each other.
After my presentation, I shared details of our earthquake. It happened in January during the winter on a Wednesday at 10 AM. Kids were in school and people at work. Who was left in our neighborhood? Our bishopric and elder’s quorum presidency were gone as well as most of our emergency captains. About four retired men were left and a scattering of women and the elderly.
Communication was limited since cell phone towers were down. Our freeways were at a standstill. Our first responders could not reach us. Homes were damaged, people injured, kids waiting for parents at schools, parents unable to get home, and some neighbors had died.
Next, the women were divided into four groups where they could solve challenges they might face after the earthquake. The groups dealt with medical needs, children’s needs, food & water, sanitation and the deceased. Each group was given 15 minutes to come up with solutions to their challenges, and then I invited a spokeswoman from each group to share the group’s questions and solutions. It was definitely a time to think and ponder.
Group A – Medical
- List those in the neighborhood who have first aid training. Put a stare by those that don’t work on Wednesday mornings. Think nurses, docs, PA’s, EMT’s, fire fighter, police officers, physical therapists, etc.
- How will you implement search and rescue to look for survivors?
- Where will you get first aid supplies, splints, crutches, wheelchairs, etc.
- Where is a good place to set up a medical treatment area?
- What will you do with the deceased?
Group B – Food & Water
- Where will you get food & water? What are your resources?
- How will you distribute the available food?
- What type of equipment will you cook on?
- How will you dispose of food trash so animals don’t get to it?
- How will you deal with food allergies?
Group C – Children
- Identify the number and approximate ages of children living in your ward?
- List all of the schools children attend in the neighborhood.
- How will you get children home from the schools without a parent?
- How will you organize the tending of children without parents?
- How will you feed infants if a parent is deceased?
Group D – Shelter & Toilets
- Where would be a good place to set up an outdoor shelter?
- What types of equipment will you need to shelter people?
- How will you keep people warm & dry?
- What items can people use to keep their bodies clean with water limited?
- How will you provide toilets?
Working together, our women were awesome. It was amazing! They got right to work solving the challenges. They CAN do hard things like their pioneer sisters before them.
I’m so glad we did this. We all have things we can do to become better prepared for the emergencies that can happen in our various neighborhoods. But sometimes we need to face the reality of what if? to see what to prepare for.
HANDOUTS FROM THE ACTIVITY
UofU Seismograph Stations – Recent Utah earthquakes
Sorry I can’t share my Power Point presentation with you here. I hope to get words to it on YouTube, but have not had time.