College Officials Seek Disaster Plan

Alarmed by the communications blackout after last month’s 6.6 earthquake, officials with the Ventura County Community College District are discussing how to be better prepared when the next major temblor hits Southern California.

“The quake has become a very pointed learning experience,” district Chancellor Thomas Lakin said at Tuesday night’s meeting of the board of trustees. “We’ve learned we cannot rely on telephones when the quake occurs, because the telephones weren’t working.”

Lakin, who said he had trouble reaching some trustees and key college administrators until late in the afternoon on the day of the quake, suggested that the district invest in short-wave radios that will operate when phone lines shut down.

Trustee Pete Tafoya added that the district should devise a formal earthquake plan so that each trustee, administrator and staff member will know what to do in the hours after a natural disaster. “We need to make sure there is a formalized process of self-help,” he said.


Lakin and some trustees noted that if the earthquake had occurred while classes were in session, many students and faculty might have suffered severe injuries from falling fixtures and plaster.

Because there is no plan in place to deal with such a situation, panic might have intensified the troubles at hard-hit Moorpark College, where the library and gym sustained extensive damage, they said.