School District Plans for Disasters

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As the 20th anniversary of the 1993 Laguna Beach fire approaches, it serves as a reminder that fire season is here, although student safety remains a top priority throughout the year, the school district announced in a statement.

“The safety of children is our first priority,” said Superintendent Sherine Smith, adding that district safety coordinator, Ted Doughty, has partnered with local police and fire departments, as well as the Orange County Department of Education and sheriff’s department to assess and refine emergency preparedness.

Doughty, also the district’s facilities director, helped develop and wrote the 2013-14 LBUSD Emergency Response Guide. The guide outlines roles and responsibilities along with site incident command team assignments, emergency contact phone numbers, procedures and follow up. The district plan delineates steps to take in the event of various emergencies, including natural disasters like fires, earthquakes, and other emergency situations.

Additionally, the district is investigating the use of thermal imaging cameras that would monitor the wilderness surrounding Top of the World Elementary School for heat fluctuations and issue alarms if there is a major change in temperature.

Fire and evacuation drills are practiced throughout the year and the local fire department is invited to attend, observe and provide advice. If a red flag warning is issued by the fire department, the school posts volunteers on fire watch. On Thursday, Oct. 17, the schools will be participating in the Great California ShakeOut earthquake drill in collaboration with the Laguna fire department.


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