Jason Lemery / Roundup
This year’s “Great California ShakeOut” drill simulated a 7.8 magnitude earthquake striking Pierce College on Thursday, and the Pierce College Crisis Action Team (CAT) was quick to respond.
They trickled in to the sheriff’s station a bare ten minutes after the 10:21 a.m. “earthquake” and immediately settled down to the business of informing the tens of thousands of faculty, staff, and students about the earthquake.
Paul Nieman, director of Plant Facilities, also serves as the CAT’s Emergency Management Coordinator, and he briefed the team on the scenario.
After working through some possible options, the members of the CAT each took up one of eight “pre-zoned” phones (one for each area of Pierce College) and read a prepared message that went out to thousands of people.
“When you do disaster drills, if something doesn’t work, it’s a success, because then you can fix it and have it work for the real thing,” Nieman said.
Many students received the voice message minutes later.
“I got kind of a little scared, but I thought it’s good they’re getting prepared,” said Gabriela Magana, a Pierce College student.