The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

An emergency with a silver lining

An uneventful afternoon Thursday changed instantly when the DVC campus was evacuated in response to a nearby gas leak.

The efforts to get students off of campus resulted in a calm, collected evacuation; however, I could not help but notice that there seemed to holes in the emergency response effort.

I was in the Student Union when news of the gas leak first broke.

At first, students were told to remain in the building. Then, we were told to gather in Parking Lots 8 and 9 on the north side of campus. Soon after, people were told to move to the edge of the parking lots, away from the campus.

Story continues below advertisement

These instructional revisions were conveyed via word of mouth. A simple bullhorn would have been more effective in this situation.

People were scrambling for someone who could give reliable information for their questions: “Where do we go?” “Who told you this?” “Where is this information coming from?” “Are classes cancelled?”

Besides there being no officials directing traffic out of the north parking lots, creating a horrible back-up getting onto Golf Club Road, there were students who were unaware of the gas leak still arriving on campus for evening classes.

A lot of confusion could have been avoided if DVC officials had a safe, organized, and effective emergency response plan that included effective communication of need-to-know information.

Instead, these DVC students, parents, and employees were arriving on campus and unknowingly putting themselves in a potentially dangerous situation.

People could have been diverted away from the campus had the police officers been more quickly involved in helping DVC officials and in directing traffic away from the campus.

There is a silver lining to this story.

Luckily, Thursday’s gas leak did not result in an explosion. Thus, there was little to no panic seen on campus.

If the incident involved more danger, such disorganization in conveying reliable information could have resulted in exacerbated tensions and complicated emergency response efforts.

This is an excellent opportunity for DVC and the Pleasant Hill Police Department to examine and reorganize their emergency response efforts in order to prepare for future incidents.

Leave a Comment
About the Contributor
Theresa Marie, Staff writer
Staff writer, spring 2013 and fall 2011. First place, feature writing, 2013 Journalism Association of Community Colleges NorCal Conference.

Comments (0)

By commenting, you give The Inquirer permission to quote, reprint or edit your words. Comments should be brief, have a positive or constructive tone, and stay on topic. If the commenter wants to bring something to The Inquirer’s attention, it should be relevant to the DVC community. Posts can politely disagree with The Inquirer or other commenters. Comments should not use abusive, threatening, offensive or vulgar language. They should not be personal attacks or celebrations of other people’s tragedies. They should not overtly or covertly contain commercial advertising. And they should not disrupt the forum. Editors may warn commenters or delete comments that violate this policy. Repeated violations may lead to a commenter being blocked. Public comments should not be anonymous or come from obviously fictitious accounts. To privately or anonymously bring something to the editors’ attention, contact them.
All The Inquirer Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Activate Search
An emergency with a silver lining