Schools prepare for earthquakes

by Teri Vance

Fritsch and Mark Twain students spent part of their day under their desks instead of at them for a statewide earthquake drill.

Fritsch Elementary Vice Principal Jim Cazier used the loudspeaker to tell students that an earthquake was in progress.

"Earthquake drill, earthquake drill!" he said as he shook a can of rocks in the background. "The windows are breaking and the lights are falling."

The earthquake drill was conducted Wednesday as part of Nevada's Earthquake Awareness and Preparedness Week.

"I think it's a good thing to do because you never know," Cazier said. "Chances of a big earthquake happening around here are pretty slim, but the kids should be prepared."

As the announcement came over the intercom, students throughout the school crawled under their desks, huddled and covered their heads.

After one minute, Cazier told them it was safe to return to their seats.

Students in Sandy Morrison's fourth-grade class were lined up at the door when the warning sounded.

"It was good timing," she said. "It took them totally by surprise."

She said despite that, the students were able to complete the exercise.

"They were all very orderly, nobody ran over anybody," she said. "Everybody ended up under a desk, which I thought was really good."

Nathan James, a 10-year-old student in the class, said he learned more about earthquakes and what to do to protect himself.

"Earthquakes are very dangerous things," he said. "If there were an earthquake, I'd go under my desk on my hands and knees and cover my neck.

Students at Mark Twain Elementary also participated in an earthquake drill.

Christi Schmid and Joan Emeiser, first-grade team teachers, said they spent the morning talking with their students about earthquakes, and students then wrote what they would do in an earthquake.

Before the official drill, they had a practice run.

"We practiced earlier so when it happened, they all got right under their desks and held on," Schmid said.

Marcelo Tapia, an eight-year-old second grader, said he could see the logic of crawling under the desk.

"If something falls on you, it would hurt a lot," he said. "If a piece of something lands on you, bam, lights out."

Officials from the other Carson City elementary schools said they hold regular earthquake preparedness drills.


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