It is a matter of time before the Big One hits Southern California. But is Disneyland ready for a catastrophic earthquake? And what about Disneyland?
Well, you may not know this but both Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts have established permanent Emergency Operations Centers, to “provide a swift, well coordinated response in the event of an emergency. These Centers are always on alert and use the same unified command system as law enforcement agencies (the Incident Command System or “ICS”) to facilitate communication and expedite mobilization in crisis situations,” according to a 2002 Walt Disney Company Report on Safety.
The Disneyland EOC is located back of house, off of Main St. It is filled with television monitors, computers and phones. I toured it a few times when I worked in safety at Disneyland, in 2011. What a lot of folks don’t know is that there are two EOCs. The backup EOC is located at Company D, the cast member store located at 1601 E. Cerritos, in Anaheim.
Disneyland also has their own fire department – located back of house off of Main St., not far from the guest first aid station. That station is staffed by actual nurses, who also take care of cast members who get hurt on the job and don’t have serious injuries. The nurses are also trained in emergency response. They serve both Disneyland and California Adventures and Downtown Disney too.
The Anaheim Fire and Police Departments are also heavily involved with Disneyland’s own security and fire teams. There are three Anaheim Police Officers permanently assigned to the Disney Resorts and both the Fire and Police Departments coordinate drills with Disney’s cast members.
The best trained rescuers at Disneyland are their lifeguards, who work in the resort hotel pool areas. They are highly trained in First Aid and CPR and have the equipment needed to save lives. I mentioned this to the Disney EOC managers when I worked there as I figured the lifeguards would really come in handy during and after a catastrophe.
Disneyland also has a large safety department. Not all of their safety cast members are trained in emergency response but some of them are. They are stationed in the green cast member offices you can see off of Ball Road, north of Disneyland.
When Japan was dealing with the aftermath of their recent large earthquake and ensuing tsunami, the Tokyo Disney Resort ended up being used as an emergency shelter. Check out this online media report about the situation:
According to media reports, the quake and subsequent tsunami has forced the Tokyo Disney Resort to shut its gates with thousands of tourists still inside the park. The parking lot has been flooded, making it impossible for people to leave.
According to TheDisneyBlog, 69,000 guests were evacuated to safe areas within the park and provided with supplies and temporary shelter. They are waiting for instructions on how to get home.
So if the dreaded Big One hits Southern California you could do a lot worse than to be at Disneyland when it happens!