View Mobile Site
  • Home
  • Marketplace
  • Community
  • Gas Prices


Ask the Expert

Signal Photos


Students duck and cover

Earthquake drill teaches kids how to react to disaster

Posted: November 17, 2008 8:39 p.m.
Updated: November 18, 2008 4:30 a.m.

Old Orchard Elementary School students duck and cover under tables in a classroom during the Great Shakeout disaster drill.

View More »

Students at Old Orchard Elementary stopped what they were doing and ducked under their desks at 10 a.m. Wednesday morning. Principle Sandra Reveles's voice blared over the intercom, instructing students to prepare for a school-wide earthquake drill.

The school's drill occurred as part of the statewide disaster drill called "The Great Southern California Shakeout", when communities all over Southern California responded to a hypothetical 7.8 earthquake along the San Andreas Fault.

"The drill is intended to practice for a disaster that could occur at our site," Reveles said. "Really, it's to decrease the anxiety level of the teachers, of the kids, of the parents. If we practice it enough and something did happen, we'd be prepared."

Many students said they learned from the experience.

"I'm learning I have to go under my desk whenever there's an earthquake," said third grader Jacob Hannah. "My friends think this is exciting because they will know what to do if there's a real earthquake at our school."

After the students spent several minutes under their desks, Reveles instructed them to evacuate the building.

"Inside there's a lot of stuff that could fall on you, and outside there's not much, so we go into the middle of the P.E. field and sit in a circle," said sixth grader Alana Stolnitz. "I'm learning what to do in a disaster drill if there's an earthquake, which is pretty important considering we live in earthquake country."

In addition to participating in the shakeout, the school practices disaster drills on a regular basis.

"We have drills every month, but we alternate between disaster drills and fire drills," Reveles said. "We probably have about four disaster drills a year. We want to maintain calmness but get out of danger's way and show the kids that even though it's a high-anxiety type of situation, we could deal with it and be alright."

Kids gathered in the athletic field grouped by class. Within 18 minutes, the school's command center administration located all 570 students.

"They have to go outside, evacuate the building, and all the parent volunteers and staff have to report to our command center," Reveles said. "We account for everyone. We make sure that all the kids are here and double check that the kids that are absent are actually the kids we have on file as absent. At that point we begin search and rescue if necessary and then call the district office to report how things are going at our site."

The drill is improved through prior practice.

"We make sure every student is accounted for and if they are not, then we must find them," said instructional assistant Pat Collins. "The kids wear locator cards around their neck of who they are. We're hoping that they think this could really happen and they don't just think it's fun. The teachers try to get them to think of it seriously."

"I hope (my child) understands to keep calm, knows where to go, and is prepared for an earthquake or any kind of emergency," said parent volunteer Claudia Barbano. "It's something you can't control. You have to be ready."


Commenting not available.
Commenting is not available.

Powered By
Morris Technology
Please wait ...