Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs About General Preparedness

Why should I bother about natural disasters that may never happen?

It's generally agreed that a devastating earthquake will hit California in the next 20 years with a probability well over 50%.  Are those odds you want to play, especially with your children?   Besides that, participating in preparedness activities has the immediate and long-lasting reward of building community by working together toward a common goal. 

What about helping our family and our community prepare?

A very good idea!  There are plenty of sources for family and community preparedness and there's no reason to duplicate their efforts.  Some authoritative resources are:

» The Palo Alto Area Chapter of the American Red Cross

» City of Palo Alto Office of Emergency Services

» The Santa Clara County Office of Emergency Services

» The California Governor's Office of Emergency Services

» Federal Emergancy Management Agency (FEMA)


FAQs About School Preparedness

Why is "comprehensive school safety" mostly about preparedness?

What about everyday hazards?

What about emerging threats such as terrorism?

Keep in mind that preparedness in schools has a history that goes back to the civil defense efforts of the 1950's.  It's reinforced by natural disasters that do seem to keep occurring.    We've seen an increase in other threats such as "shooters on campus" of the last ten or so years and the possibility of terrorism in the last 3 years, and we're doing our best to adjust, but institutions change slowly.  If it's too slow for you, get involved!

Is there a conflict between specific efforts such as Traffic Safety and Comprehensive School Safety?

Not at all.   We're trying to support the excellent theory of Comprehensive School Safety while remaining true to the practical reality that community and school innovations are usually driven by individuals and small groups who are passionately devoted to a specific cause.   It isn't always easy, but we're an all-volunteer organization, so we don't need to maintain strict hierarchies or lines of authority.

Information at this web site is at odds with what I see.  Do you really know what's going on?

Can't the site volunteers let you know what's going on?

No, we don't always know what is going on at individual sites, or even groups of sites, because there's currrently no way to find out.   PAUSD sets standards for site preparedness and advises sites when asked, but doesn't have personnel or funding to actively audit what actually happens. To a great extent, this situation is a result of California law, which places the bulk of preparedness responsibility on each site.   In addition, School Safety, particularly preparedness, often gets little official attention except when parental demands become strong, for example, as they did following the 1989 earthquake.   PTA Council has even fewer resources, no official authority, and no standing beyond that of any individual District parent or citizen to request information about compliance at sites.   Historically, preparedness volunteers at individual sites have been signed up to help maintain preparedness supplies, not to do evaluation or advocacy, and it is difficult to change this precedent.


FAQs About This Site

Why can't I click on your email address to send you an email?

Why is your email address fuzzy?

Putting a click-able or textual email address on a website is like posting a public message "spam me".  Spam is the popular term for unsolicited commercial email.    People who generate spam, "spammers",  send electronic junk mail to millions of email accounts.  Hormel Foods Corporation, maker of SPAM® canned meat products, has published an informative article on this issue, here.

Unfortunately, the convenience of opening a new message by clicking on an address link on a web page exposes the email address to automatic collection ("harvesting") by computer programs ("spambots"), which continuously search the World Wide Web for email addresses.    Lists of addresses collected by spambots are available to spammers.    Anyone on such a list is subject to receiving a wide range of solicitations, with content ranging from irrelevant to silly to objectionable.

So, when we need to make an email address available, we take a "picture" of the address and use that picture on the web page.   Because this is a graphic (technically, a "jpeg image") most spambots cannot read it.   However, also, you can't click on it to send an email,  or copy it as text and paste that into the "to:" field of your email program.  That's also why the appearance of this text is of lower quality;  it's a picture of the original, and some quality is lost in the process.

Unfortunately, this technique isn't foolproof, and it's certainly inconvenient.  We'll keep our eyes open for improvements.


Why don't you use more up-to-date web technology, more fancy features, animations, etc.?

Those are distractions.  Better to concentrate on content.

Other Resources:

» Bookshelf

» Web links


School Safety