In the areas around the Great Salt Lake, the borders between water and land are not sharp or permanent. Credit: Matt Howard, Unsplash

Mitigation and Preparedness

Because of the potential for children and parents to be cut off from one another in the aftermath of a quake, the following preparations should be made:

  1. Schools should continue collecting and updating records of where parents work and how they can be contacted at the start of each year.
  2. The school district should require parents to provide at least one emergency contact that lives and works inside Tooele County as well as one contact outside the county.
  3. The school district should have a plan for where students at each school will be moved if their school is damaged—and a plan of how they will be moved there. This information should be published to parents each school year. Schools with lower risk of soil liquefaction are likely bets.
  4. Each school should maintain a stock of food, water, first aid supplies, and bedding in case children must shelter there overnight.
  5. Each school should maintain a list of children who need life-sustaining medications such as insulin. Have a plan for accessing additional supplies and designate a team of staff members dedicated to tracking and monitoring these children.
  6. The school district should have a clear communication plan that allows each principle to push information quickly to parents in the aftermath of a natural disaster. SMS or recorded voice calls are preferable to email or internet solutions. The system should be tested often and parents should be educated about its existence regularly.

    Predetermined alternate collection points for parents to reunite with their kids are important in case the school becomes unsafe or unreachable by roadways. This park-and-ride lot is within walking distance of one local elementary school.