Weston Ranch Flood Plan Could Use Some Work
Like Fire Drills, Flood Drills Would Help Keep Us Prepared
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By Cedric Leung
Stockton isn’t ready for a flood.
Its far South Stockton high school might not be either.
Recently students, staff, and parents living and attending schools near or along the San Joaquin River received a flash flood warning, and only a few knew what to do. When the weather pattern included large amounts of rain, it felt like a strange abnormality that left people confused and asking questions everywhere.
It was like Mother Nature finally said, “Let there be water!” But then it continued like a leaky faucet. People didn’t know what to do.
On Tuesday, the Manteca Bulletin reported that Manteca Unified School District leaders are keeping a “close eye” on water levels in the San Joaquin River. Manteca Bulletin Executive Editor Dennis Wyatt wrote in his March 14 article that a more than a third of the district’s students “8,489, to be exact” attend school in a floodplain. If levees failed, Wyatt wrote, Weston Ranch schools, including our own, could get up to three feet of flood water. District Director of Information Technology Colby Clark said told the Bulletin that “site administrators and key campus staff are well versed in flood protocols and evacuation routes.”
Now, what’s the plan if Weston Ranch High School faces flood conditions, you ask? When The Prowl asked, our school officials answered as follows:
1) Call the Manteca Unified School District to send us buses.
2) Head to East Union High School because, as one official said, it is “geographically closest.”
3) Have parents and guardians of Weston Ranch students go to EU to check out students.
This plan raises some questions.
“Can EU contain students from two high schools?”
“What happens when we get there?”
“If people drive to school, what do they do?”
I don’t know the answer to any of these. I am not sure anyone does either.
Now, to be fair, I understand why this would be a difficult problem to solve. The last significant area flooding was in 1997 before all of us where born. The State of California does not receive torrential rainfall every year. In fact, the state is in a drought.
The chances of a flood happening are extremely low. So not realizing the possibility of a flood is understandable, but still, not optimal. If it threatens safety, there should be a set of rules to follow to help those who are at risk.
Yes, flood drills. Incorporate flood drills into the school’s plans. Like fire drills, lock downs, and bus evacuations, flood evacuations could be practiced by a school district to make sure that everyone is ready for the situation if it does happen. Students and staff can evacuate the schools through buses provided by the district, and, by doing this, those with cars will be able to understand what to also do if there is a flood.
Problems could arise during a drill. Problems are, of course, inevitable. Students likely would be confused as to what the plan would be.
Problems could be fixed during a drill. Confusion would be reduced and disorder hopefully prevented at every step of the plan from vacating the school to arriving at East Union. Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Perhaps we wouldn’t even have to leave the school because we knew the instructions once we arrived. However, we need to know how to get out of school and onto buses.
Safety is the number one priority anywhere. It is the duty of authorities to protect those entrusted to them.
So, as a student, I would like to be able to say I know what to do in any given situation and that everything would be under control if it were to happen.