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BUSD stages disaster drills

Jackson Bell

A fire broke out in the Miller Elementary School cafeteria on

Thursday, trapping several children in a classroom. At Jordan Middle

School, 15 students were injured and one teacher was missing. Over at


Burbank High School, the auditorium collapsed.

Although the incidents were simulations enacted as part of the

Burbank Unified School District’s annual disaster drill, the

responses were taken seriously.


The district coordinated the drill simultaneously among each

school so students and faculty learn what to do during an emergency

such as an earthquake.

“There are a lot of students in the district and we need to

protect and take care of them during a disaster,” said Marlene

Burton, the district’s disaster preparedness coordinator.

A command center was set up in the board room at district

headquarters, and facilitators communicated via radio with each


school. In turn, faculty members rushed their students into safe

spots such as outdoor athletic fields, and took attendance to make

sure everyone was accounted for.

Next, teachers were assembled into search-and-rescue teams and

combed each campus in search of missing people.

John Burroughs High School Principal Emilio Urioste said teachers

were required to train for disaster relief with the Burbank Police

and Fire departments.


“This makes us proactive, instead of waiting for [a disaster] to

happen and then react,” Urioste said. “And the drill lets students

know that they’re safe and will make it through an emergency.”

Gagik Abrahamian, a John Burroughs High School senior, agreed.

“It’s important because even though kids don’t take it seriously,

they know what to do when the situation arises,” he said.