What do you do in an earthquake? Great ShakeOut provides answers

Apr 18 2013 - 6:12am

Images

LEFT: Students in Mrs. Monique Ailor’s South Weber Elementary class sit under their desks during an earthquake drill in South Weber on Wednesday. (REYNALDO LEAL/Standard-Examiner)
Students wait outside South Weber Elementary School after their annual earthquake drill in South Weber, Wednesday April 17, 2013. (REYNALDO LEAL/Standard-Examiner)
Students in Mrs. Monique Ailor's South Weber Elementary class sit under their desks during an earthquake drill in South Weber, Wednesday April 17, 2013. (REYNALDO LEAL/Standard-Examiner)
Elementary school teacher Monique Ailor holds on to the bottom of her desk during an earthquake drill in South Weber, Wednesday April 17, 2013. (REYNALDO LEAL/Standard-Examiner)
Students in Mrs. Monique Ailor's South Weber Elementary class sit under their desks during an earthquake drill in South Weber, Wednesday April 17, 2013. (REYNALDO LEAL/Standard-Examiner)
South Weber Elementary student Grant Robinson sits under his desk during an earthquake drill in South Weber, Wednesday April 17, 2013. (REYNALDO LEAL/Standard-Examiner)
LEFT: Students in Mrs. Monique Ailor’s South Weber Elementary class sit under their desks during an earthquake drill in South Weber on Wednesday. (REYNALDO LEAL/Standard-Examiner)
Students wait outside South Weber Elementary School after their annual earthquake drill in South Weber, Wednesday April 17, 2013. (REYNALDO LEAL/Standard-Examiner)
Students in Mrs. Monique Ailor's South Weber Elementary class sit under their desks during an earthquake drill in South Weber, Wednesday April 17, 2013. (REYNALDO LEAL/Standard-Examiner)
Elementary school teacher Monique Ailor holds on to the bottom of her desk during an earthquake drill in South Weber, Wednesday April 17, 2013. (REYNALDO LEAL/Standard-Examiner)
Students in Mrs. Monique Ailor's South Weber Elementary class sit under their desks during an earthquake drill in South Weber, Wednesday April 17, 2013. (REYNALDO LEAL/Standard-Examiner)
South Weber Elementary student Grant Robinson sits under his desk during an earthquake drill in South Weber, Wednesday April 17, 2013. (REYNALDO LEAL/Standard-Examiner)

SOUTH WEBER -- Though she was merely 2 years old at the time, Nicole Sargent remembers being in an earthquake.

"Our family was in Chile visiting one of my dad's friends, and I remember it happened while we were sleeping," said the South Weber Elementary School fifth-grader. "The next morning, my mom said we couldn't go outside until they said it was safe."

On Wednesday, Nicole and her classmates practiced the drop, cover and hold earthquake drill with the rest of the state, as part of The Great Utah ShakeOut.

At 10:15 a.m., as students were reading a story about bears, a rumbling noise came over the intercom and lasted several seconds. All 31 students in Monique Ailor's fifth-grade class immediately dropped to the floor, slid under their desks and held on tight. Not one student made a peep until after the rumbling stopped.

"Remember, we're waiting for further instructions," Ailor said. "In a real earthquake, we may have to stay like this for a long time."

After about 10 minutes, lights began flashing and the fire alarm went off. The children got up from under their desks in an orderly fashion, grabbed their coats and lined up at the door. Ailor led them outside onto the front lawn and counted each of her students to confirm they were all there.

The Great Utah ShakeOut is held each year as a reminder for people to appropriately prepare themselves in the event of an earthquake, said Joe Dougherty, public information officer for the Utah Division of Emergency Management.

Because large earthquakes can strike anywhere without warning, it's always best to know what steps to take, he said.

"It's not too late to participate," Dougherty said. "They can still sign up to participate through the end of the week. The main things people need to do to participate is drop, cover and hold on, which is kind of fun to do if you download the broadcast recording and play it. Families, businesses and schools can still do this, even if it's the next day."

To download the rumble and find out more information on earthquake preparedness, go to www.shakeout.org/utah/drill/broadcast.

According to the Utah Seismic Safety Commission, 90 percent of the state's population lives in an active earthquake zone. If a 7.5 quake were to hit the Salt Lake City area, the commission projects approximately 7,600 deaths and $18 million in damage.

"I wasn't scared during the drill because we've practiced doing it before," said student Jayden Wibrow. "I mean, you're scared because your life might be at stake, but if you know what to do, then it's not so scary."

Fifth-grader Cayden Schroader said because he's prepared, he doesn't think he'll be as scared if the real thing happens.

"It's important to do these drills, because then you won't panic and you'll know exactly what to do," he said. "If I was at home, I would duck under my desk in my bedroom."

Fifth-grader Hunter Swalberg said he would make sure his family and pets were safe as well.

"I know we'll be safe, but if something fell on us, I would try and wiggle out or I would call for help," he said.

For further information, go to facebook.com/bereadyutah, facebook.com/utahshakeout, pinterest.com/bereadyutah and beready.utah.gov/beready/earthquakePreparedness.html.

From Around the Web

  +