Coverage of the deadly tornado that demolished homes and schools in Oklahoma on May 20.

Are LA Schools Prepared For a Huge Natural Disaster?

By Lolita Lopez and Daisy Lin
|  Wednesday, May 22, 2013  |  Updated 1:08 AM PDT
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Every school in the Los Angeles Unified School District is required to have an emergency kit ready in case of disaster. Not only are school staff members trained to assume positions of search and rescue, schools are also built to higher safety standards, and are subject to frequent inspections. Lolita Lopez reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on May 21, 2013.

Lolita Lopez, Fabian Rodriguez

Every school in the Los Angeles Unified School District is required to have an emergency kit ready in case of disaster. Not only are school staff members trained to assume positions of search and rescue, schools are also built to higher safety standards, and are subject to frequent inspections. Lolita Lopez reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on May 21, 2013.

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If a big natural disaster of the magnitude of the Oklahoma tornadoes were to strike Los Angeles, would our schools be prepared?

Jill Barnes, coordinator of the LAUSD Office of Emergency Services, said the district has its own triage teams.

“We assume in an emergency, like a big earthquake, that we may not be able to get any services in ,” she said.

Every school in the Los Angeles Unified School District must have an emergency kit ready for any disaster.

According to the CA Department of Education, Southland school districts and police departments must work together to establish an emergency response plan. And some districts, like William S. Hart High School District in Santa Clarita and LAUSD, even have their plans posted online. 

In addition to training staff to assume positions of search and rescue, Barnes said schools in general may be the safest structures when the so-called "Big One" hits. State law requires public K-12 schools to be built to higher standards and inspected more frequently.

Parents should be aware of what their child's school plan is and make it part of the family's check list.

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