At the first alarm at 10:20 a.m. Thursday, Fremont Elementary School students calmly dropped what they were doing in class and ducked under their desk for cover, just as they would do in a real earthquake.
The annual Great Nevada ShakeOut, the state’s earthquake and evacuation drill that helps schools put into practice on Oct. 20 the steps and procedures students should take in an emergency while maintaining a sense of composure, was practiced among Carson City School District campuses, with Fremont fourth-grade teacher Pamela Shank’s class demonstrating the “drop, cover and hold-on” technique promoted by the Great Nevada ShakeOut as the safest way to protect oneself during an earthquake. The class then evacuated out to the field to show students it’s important to find a safe location with others as soon as it’s safe and the staff can make sure their students are accounted for in groups.
“I really feel these types of drill, any drill – fire drills, lockdown drills – are, well, a lot of people think, ‘This is just a random drill we have to have,’ but really what it is, it really is actually preparing you for the real thing if it ever happens, which I think all of us really hope will not happen,” said fourth-grader Alan Pulido, 9, who took part in the drill.
Shank, who has been teaching for 16 years, said the Great Nevada ShakeOut is a valuable chance for students to put into practice skills they’ll need to know in a real emergency and focus on the procedure and directions to follow, especially for younger students.
“I think the most important thing is they learn to stay calm in stressful situations,” she said. “And then they learn not to fool around and make fun of it so if something does come up, they’re not going to take it lightly.”
Approximately 19 million people worldwide have participated in similar drills and activities in their community.
In the event of an earthquake, people are encouraged to drop to their knees wherever they are, then use one arm to protect the head and neck while using the other hand to hold on to a sturdy table or desk that you are underneath. If a person cannot find something sturdy to hold on to, they should try to get close to an interior wall and use both arms to protect their head and neck.
Nevada is the third most seismically-active state in the country. Experts say it is possible that a major quake will strike Nevada in the near future. Families who are interested in learning how to prepare for a potential seismic event can visit shakeout.org/Nevada.