Bakersfield community comes to CSUB to learn how to prepare for disaster


Sarah Montano



Community members attended the Disaster Preparedness Event at California State University, Bakersfield on Saturday, Sept. 15 to learn what to do in the event of a disaster. Attendees explored helicopters, portable animal shelters, the SWAT team’s hummer, and experience a 7.0 magnitude Earthquake simulator.

Bakersfield is susceptible to many different kinds of disasters.  Fires, earthquakes, and floods are among the top disasters residents are likely to see, according to maps set up at the event. Booths were set up by various Kern County disaster relief agencies and medical agencies, as well as geological groups and local ham radio experts in order to teach people necessary skills in the event of a disaster.

“It kind of shows the community that there is help and it does help to be aware of what actions to take in a certain situation,” Sarah Hughes, a geology major at CSUB, said while sitting behind the university’s geology department booth.  

Maria Guzman, mother of three, received a flyer from her children’s school, Valley Oaks Charter School, inviting the community to attend.  She said her kids are doing geology in school and are learning about earthquakes, so she thought it would be a good idea to come to the event.

“I think it’s a really good thing. It’s good to know what to do in a disaster. I like that it is very scientific too,” Guzman said.

The Kern County Mineral Society, as well as the CSUB geology department, displayed different minerals and stones. A map of fault lines was also on display illustrating how susceptible Kern County is to earthquakes.

The Bakersfield Community Emergency Response Team and the Kern Fire Department displayed a map of Kern County under water in the event that the Lake Isabella Dam breaks.  It described how much time it would take to get to a certain depth of water depending on where you live, essentially how much time you would have to get to safety. They also taught people how to bandage a very bad cut or scrape with gauze.    

Hope Guerrero from Kern Medical Trauma Services taught attendees how to “stop the bleed” with a tourniquet.  When asked what the most important thing to do when someone is bleeding severely, Guerrero said, “Just recognizing that they are actively bleeding and activating the 911 emergency system because even if you didn’t have a tourniquet and you just have loose clothing, even the shirt off your back, just applying that direct pressure on a wound is going to help someone immensely.”

There were unique opportunities to talk with local law enforcement and firefighters as well.

The Kern County Sheriff’s Department landed their search and rescue helicopter on the lawn east of the amphitheater, at about 8:15 a.m. in preparation for the event. Curious attendees had the opportunity to go inside the helicopter while Deputy Sheriff and pilot, Kevin Austin, described what all the buttons and machinery do.  

A tour inside Kern County Fire Department’s urban search-and-rescue truck also attracted many young kids who lined up to hoist themselves up into the passenger seat.

The SWAT team had an arsenal of explosives on display, including a bazooka. They also had the robots they use to diffuse bombs, one marked from a shotgun blast, on display across from the SWAT Hummer.    

A ride in a simulated 7.0 earthquake gave visitors a safe perspective of what the real thing would feel like, while also feeling like a carnival ride.  

The Salvation Army added to the atmosphere by serving free hot dogs, chips, and water from their mobile “Emergency Canteen.”

Kern County’s four legged friends were not left out of the event because Kern County Animal Shelter had their portable rescue unit for pets set up to tour. The trailer contained many cages on both sides with a walkway up the middle.  Kern County Sheriff search and rescue dogs were out for visitors to pet and learn about, too.