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Kenai borough plans improvements in earthquake response

December 15, 2018

KENAI, Alaska (AP) — The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District performed admirably after southcentral Alaska’s magnitude 7.0 earthquake on Nov. 30, according to the borough mayor.

Charlie Pierce, however, said there was room for improvement by the borough administration, the Peninsula Clarion reported .

“It was evident that our performance, although very well, was not anywhere near to how the school district had performed,” Pierce said at a borough assembly meeting after the earthquake.

The borough had not practiced drills or performed emergency training for earthquakes or even fires, he said.

“We don’t train,” Pierce said. “We haven’t had any fire drills or any evacuation plans that employees were familiar with. There were a number of people in (the borough building) going in different directions and weren’t really certain about what to do.”

Borough directors and managers gathered the week after the earthquake to review what happened. They also made a plan for future emergencies.

Visitors in the borough building during emergencies will be asked to follow an employee, Pierce said.

The mayor commended the school district on its ability to address emergency procedures.

Superintendent Sean Dusek said teachers and staff across the peninsula made sure students were safe.

“Our staff performed very, very well in a stressful situation,” Dusek said. “It came at a very odd time. At the elementary schools, it was drop-off time for students. The staff here did a great job of implementing the critical incident plan that we have.

“We had some things happen to some of our schools, but compared to Anchorage and the Mat-Su, it was very minor.”

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