Schools to Evacuate During 2014 Disaster Drill

A Disaster Preparedness drill, coordinated by the Hoopa Valley Tribe’s Office of Emergency Services, will occur on Wednesday, March 26 at 11 am. Hoopa schools will be evacuated during the drill./TRT File photo

By ALLIE HOSTLER, Two Rivers Tribune

Don’t be alarmed when the alarms sound at 11 am on March 26.

Hoopa’s emergency sirens, during a planned drill, will initiate a thoroughly planned evacuation of Hoopa schools and the Hoopa Tribe’s Neighborhood Facilities building (NF).

“We don’t want this to be a surprise,” Hoopa Office of Emergency Services Director, Rod Mendes, said in a planning meeting last week. “It’s only a drill, so that we’re better prepared for the surprise, if and when it happens.”

Mendes has begun planning meetings with key tribal and school district staff so the drill flows smoothly, and a system of communication is in place.

Bev Stevens, the director of the school’s maintenance and transportation department, will coordinate the task of busing all students to a pre-designated staging area at the Hoopa Modular yard. Additional staging areas have been identified in strategic areas in case a real disaster occurs, but for the purposes of the drill the Modular area has been selected.

“Last year we moved 680 bodies to the Modular yard within 10 minutes,” Stevens said.

Last year, three school bus teams—the blue, the green and the purple teams—had specific instructions and routes to follow. This year will be similar.

K’ima:w Medical Center will also evacuate their clinic and deploy their mobile decontamination unit.

There was an effort to plan an evacuation of the Early Childhood Education Center, but complications arose with child transportation and having appropriate child restraint systems at the ready.

The drill is scheduled to commence at the same time throughout the entire county. It originated as a Tsunami warning drill. Emergency broadcasting systems, sirens and communication systems will be tested.

Last year two sirens failed to sound and the emergency personnel radio communication system in Hoopa had kinks that needed to be ironed out.
Mendes said they have since remedied the problems.

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