Red Cross Club advocates disaster preparedness in the wake of Hurricane Sandy

The Aragon Red Cross Club held a fundraiser for Hurricane Sandy relief from Nov. 14 to Nov. 16, selling miniature first aid kits to raise money for the victims. Though the total profit remains unclear, the club raised more than $300. Says sophomore club treasurer Vivian Shen, “The fundraiser was just selling the kits and donating the money made to Red Cross Hurricane Sandy Relief funds… The kits contained typical first aid things: bandages, antibiotic ointment, and antiseptics.”

Says Shen, “[Fundraising] is important for several reasons: one reason… is that it helps people sympathize with [the victims] and open their eyes to the world, not just a little corner of the world where they live.”

A wide variety of natural disasters affects all regions in the United States. The high temperatures of the Atlantic Ocean cause damage in the form of hurricanes on the East Coast, a recent notable one being Hurricane Sandy. Aptly nicknamed “Frankenstorm” because it occurred in the vicinity of Halloween, it caused billions of dollars in damage. The landlocked southern and midwest states are often struck by tornadoes and thunderstorms, and the West Coast has to deal with earthquakes. The U.S. Geological Survey states that Southern California experiences 10,000 earthquakes of varying strengths each year.

Earthquake drills frequent schools in California, the most recent one at Aragon being in October. Says freshman Rachel Veneziano, “It wasn’t useful because we’ve done it in middle school and elementary school and we know how to do it already. It’s a waste of class time.”

Students and teachers also remember earthquakes that have happened at Aragon in the past. Says sophomore Jennifer Saldana, “I remember an earthquake last year during school. It wasn’t a big one, but I was able to feel it in class.”

English teacher Sandy Skale also recalls the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, which struck the San Francisco Bay Area on Oct. 17, 1989 at 5:04 p.m. and had a magnitude of 6.9. Says Skale, “It was after school, and I wasn’t [at Aragon]. I was at home, starting to eat my dinner and watching TV, getting ready to watch the World Series, and that’s when it started shaking. I ran to a doorway in my house; looking down through my kitchen, I saw the wall of my house weave, and the TV went off.”

On its effect on Aragon, Skale remembers, “There was a girls volleyball game going on in the gym, and they all went running out of the gym because they could tell something was happening. Then I remember watching the news at night, because schools and districts in the Bay Area were closed the next day. At 11 or 12, it said [Aragon] was closed the next day because they needed to inspect damage at all the high schools, and I think everything was fine at Aragon because we came back the [following] day. It was really weird to reconcile that everything was fine here, but 20 miles from here in San Francisco terrible things happened. People got killed—there were fires, roadway areas collapsed … and a section of the Bay Bridge collapsed.”

In the case of an earthquake large enough to cause damage, Aragon is insured. Assistant Principal Joe Mahood says, “We practice different kinds of drills: secure building drills, earthquake drills, and fire drills. We plan for where to go, we have supplies that are here, we have emergency communication services, and some people are CERT trained.”

Adds Mahood, “We’re hoping that everything would be standing. We’d lose power, and I have no idea what would happen to the wireless network. The worst case scenario would be that we’d wait for the shaking to stop, go to the football field, and the district office would call us and we’d release the students. We’re as prepared as we can [be], but with an earthquake you have no idea.”

Additionally, the Aragon Red Cross Club also raises awareness about natural disasters by teaching disaster preparedness classes at local elementary schools. Says Shen, “We contact local elementary schools, and we give them a presentation with an easy, fun video that they can understand. We teach them basics; the best thing to do in certain disasters and the best way to plan. Hopefully they’ll bring it home, tell their parents, and be more prepared.”

Posted by Emily Shen

Emily is excited to be coming back for her fourth year on the Outlook. She loves listening to KQED, unabashedly rocking out to country music, going to the beach, reading Spanish literature, defending the Oxford comma, and (most importantly) both creating and editing content for her school newspaper.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *