Students and staff participate in earthquake drill

Photo courtesy of The Chaparral. Students walking out of class during earthquake drill.



On Oct. 17 at 10:17 a.m., schools across the United States, including schools in other countries, participated in an event called, “Great ShakeOut.” The “Great ShakeOut” is a yearly earthquake drill that occurs on the third of every Thursday in October.

According to, the official website that organizes the drills, over 24.1 million schools took part in the “Great ShakeOut” globally.

The first “Great ShakeOut” was held on Nov. 13, 2008, which was called the The Great Southern California ShakeOut, which had 5.3 million participants take part in homes, businesses, schools, places of worship and communities across Southern California. The drill was successful beyond expectations that it became standardized and turned into what we call the Great ShakeOut.

The drill that the students were taught is called, Drop, Cover, and Hold On as Doorframe and Triangle of Life have been proven to be ineffective and potentially life-threatening. The instructions behind this drill are very simple as you drop to the ground, get to cover under a solid, sturdy object, and hold on until the earthquake stops. For those using a walker or wheelchair, the guidelines are different. They must lock the wheels on their support device, sit on the walker if you are using one, and cover your head and neck with your hands. This is the basics of what to do since a person could be in an area where no cover is provided or is inside of a laboratory. Once the shaking concludes, look around for hazards in all directions and avoid them when getting up; afterward, you may collect your belongings and exit the building to the designated safe zone.

During COD’s participation in the Great ShakeOut, several ‘Building Captains’ were asked about their role in the drill, “The main thing we do is to make sure everyone got out of the building. We clear the building; we put up a green sign showing that our building is clear and that there is nobody left in there. If there had been someone in there having a problem, we would put up a red tag, indicating that there are problems inside. Then we lock the doors and come to the safe zone.”

Great ShakeOut has seen highly successful rates since it’s origin on Nov. 3, 2008, and it isn’t just the numbers that say so; students, teachers, parents, and many others have spoken in agreement with the exercise. COD (insert year) Jazmin Mora said, “I haven’t done this drill since high school, and I forgot we had to go under the table.”

Jose Garcia, an (insert year) commented on the drill, saying, “I agree to have this drill. I haven’t done it since high school so I was like, ‘Do we still go under the table?’ and honestly, if an earthquake were to happen, I would rather go outside then stay in the building. But I would listen to the school, I would do whatever is listed.”

The Great ShakeOut retaught those that have forgotten the safety drills that were rehearsed in high school, and maybe even before in junior and elementary grade schools. The earthquake drill must be practiced often as an earthquake can happen in any place in the world, and knowing what to do in case one were to occur can save many lives.

More information regarding what to do during an earthquake or to take part in an upcoming event,

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