When the “disaster” hit, parents, teachers, school staff and
students at Jefferson Elementary School sprang into action.
The disaster drill, postponed from November because of high winds
at the time, was a districtwide event to prepare for what might
happen in a disaster, like an earthquake.
Within 10 minutes of the 10 a.m. bell Thursday, school staff,
headed by Principal Lynn Perske, had a command center set up on the
Teachers, assisted by parents, formed a triage center on the
school’s lower playground, and another group of adults manned a table
near the Eton Drive gate where parents would come to pick up their
Teachers, cautioning their students not to speak, led them out of
classrooms to the playground in orderly lines.
Because children of various ethnic backgrounds attend Jefferson,
volunteers wore signs identifying them as translators for Armenian,
Arabic, Korean and Spanish.
Students played a part in the disaster drill, too. Several of them
were “assigned” to have various injuries. One student actually
suffered a slight injury when another student accidentally poked her
in the face as they were filing out of their classroom.
Fifth-grader Zach Wilke was told to hide so a search party could
come looking for him. Zach did his part well, because it took the
searchers almost an hour to find him.
“It was hard to find me because I had a bean bag on top of me,”
Rosario Fernandez, who has a daughter in the third grade,
volunteered to be part of the search and rescue team.
“I’m glad I was here. I think they’re organized and they know
exactly what to do,” she said.
The district conducts disaster-preparedness drills two times each
“At the end of the drill, we kind of debrief and see what we can
do to refine it next time,” Perske said.