BC hosts annual PrepareAthon

Students and staff explore best practices for disasters

Students learning how to use a fire extinguisher. Alyssa Brown / The Watchdog

Living in Western Washington, there are several natural disasters that could affect the 5.2 million people residing in the area. Living on the Ring of Fire, earthquakes, tsunami and volcanoes are risks faced every day.

Students in the BearCat.
Alyssa Brown / The Watchdog

On Sept. 30, Bellevue College held the second annual PrepareAthon to spread awareness of disasters and teach students and staff how to be prepared for disasters. Attendees learned about building kits, what to do in a disaster situation and requirements for survival.

Several tables were set up around the C Building courtyard where people could browse and get informed about an aspect of preparedness. A raffle was set up where students could earn entries by participating in activities with the chance to win prizes throughout the day with a grand prize of an Apple Watch.

A “Doom Wheel” activity was set up where students could be quizzed on the proper course of action for a given situation like fire, earthquake, flooding or dangerous intruder and were awarded raffle tickets for right answers.

To learn about first aid procedures, a booth was set up where participants could practice using first aid skills on volunteers, treating hypothetical sprains, broken bones, head injuries and other injuries.

The Red Cross was present, doing outreach and informing passers-by about building survival kits and the importance of self-sufficiency. When natural disasters strike, everybody is affected and emergency services more often are first dispatched to important concentrations of people like schools and nursing homes.

Individuals are encouraged to have a 14-day supply of food and water along with a medical kit to take care of themselves in the days immediately after a disaster.

An activity held by the soccer field gave participants the chance to practice using a real fire extinguisher on a fake fire – in this case a traffic cone. Students were taught the procedure and strategies to put out a fire, gained familiarity with the process and learned what to expect.

As part of a push to work closer with Bellevue College, Bellevue Police officers were present to answer questions from the public. While they didn’t have anything specifically to do with the theme of disaster preparedness, anybody could ask the officers present anything that they were curious about. A BearCat armored vehicle was opened up to the public, students and staff had the opportunity to go inside and see what it was like.