“Kerrwood Hall has a large crack on the side facing the President’s Patio and may not be safe.” “The roads from Westmont to 101 are blocked—a large tree has fallen near Cold Spring School and power lines are down on Coast Village Road.” These and many other radio messages were heard during Westmont’s “ReadyDay 2014: Amazing Quake,” a competitive exercise May 13 to teach about 80 faculty and staff critical skills needed in an emergency. Officials from Santa Barbara County, the city of Santa Barbara and other colleges observed the operation.
Nine teams of faculty and staff were required to solve six ReadyDay Roadblocks, four of which were common to all the teams. Clues led participants to each station, where they had to complete three tasks, such as using emergency radios, writing disaster/crisis check requests, locating missing students, setting up large tents on Lovik Field, identifying hazardous materials and damaged buildings, and finding and heating up potable water on a propane stove.
The drill, based on the Amazing Race television show, was developed by Troy Harris, Westmont director of risk management. “By creating a game, we hope participants will better retain what they learned during this exercise,” he says. “We created teams with people assigned to different logistical roles in hopes of cross training everyone. In an emergency, we’ll need to be flexible.”
The three teams that finished all their tasks first, Chile (Logistics), San Francisco 1906 (Operations) and Sumatra (Planning), won emergency-themed prizes.