Schools all across Arizona participated in the Great ShakeOut Thursday morning, the world’s largest earthquake preparedness drill, with each school performing the drills at approximately 10:17 a.m.
Administrators at Horizon Community Learning Center (HCLC) in Ahwatukee felt their students would benefit from having knowledge on what exactly to do if an earthquake would occur during school hours, or in everyday life.
Melissa Hartley, director of community relations, said the school participates in other school safety drills, and believes these types of safety tips are good for students.
“The students do a quick drill that involves them dropping to the floor, finding cover, and holding on,” she said, adding that students were shown different public service announcements throughout the week on what safety precautions should been taken if ever an earthquake would happen, and daily announcements were made during the school day.
Although Arizona is mainly known for its blazing dry heat and not traditionally an “earthquake state” the USArray component of EarthScope, an earth science program that researches the structure and evolution of the North American continent, detected more than 1,000 earthquakes in Arizona during its development.
While venturing inside Suzie Davis’ class, who teaches fifth- and sixth-grade math, it seemed as if it was a normal school day, while students performed their daily school work.
When it came time to participate in the Great ShakeOut, Davis showed them a brief video on what should be done as the drill took place.
As the video told the students to duck under the desk all 31 students hurried under their desk, grabbed onto the metal legs and held on.
Davis had the students run the drill a second time, just to make sure they had in down, and afterwards answered questions about the importance of this safety precaution.
She informed her students that ducking under their desk during an earthquake will protect them from any falling debris.
Davis believes participating in the Great ShakeOut drill is beneficial for students.
“They need to be prepared for any emergency situation that occurs and at Horizon we like to be sure they are exposed to a variety of different types of drills, whether it’s a fire drill or in this case the ShakeOut drill,” she said. “You never know what’s going to take place, and even if it’s an earthquake drill they need to be prepared on the moment to follow directions and follow expectations in emergency situations.”
Connor Tinsley, a student of Davis, said the Great ShakeOut drill is important to participate in because during an earthquake some people don’t know what to do, or what will happen.
“The walls may come down, the ceiling could cave in so you don’t know what’s going to happen,” Tinsley said.
After the five-minute drill students returned to their seats.
For more information about the Great ShakeOut drills, visit www.shakeout.org.