249328 Disaster planning and training for parochial Armenian schools in the Los Angeles area

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 10:30 AM

Alina Dorian, PhD , Center for Public Health and Disasters, UCLA School of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA
Michael C. Stajura, MPH, MPP , Department of Community Health Sciences, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
California's public schools are required by law to have robust disaster and emergency plans, training, and mitigation measures. These laws designed for public schools do not apply equally to all schools. In the greater Los Angeles area, there is a strong Armenian community with several parochial schools. As participant-observers with strong ties to the Armenian community and these schools, the authors of this study developed and conducted a training program for the staff and faculty that included planning meetings, classroom sessions, and full-scale disaster drills that included student participation. The staff and faculty of these schools implemented search and rescue, first aid, and mass care activities under the incident command system. These activities required substantial collaboration and stakeholder buy-in. Strong social cohesion within the Armenian community, as well as the collective Armenian experience with earthquakes and other disasters, helped create a successful community building activity to improve disaster resiliency in spite of the lack of regulatory requirements. This success is now being replicated in other Armenian schools, and there is potential for the model to be applied to other communities.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss emergency preparedness regulations as they apply to public and non-public schools. 2. Describe a case study of disaster preparedness training for parochial Armenian schools in the Los Angeles area involving participant observation. 3. Describe intrinsic factors of the Armenian community as they apply to disaster resiliency.

Keywords: Disasters, School-Based Programs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I helped design and administer the program, and it is directly related to my doctoral studies.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.