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Earthquake Drill Puts OK Students Under Desks

Filed by Michael Cross in Feature, Local News, News.
February 8, 2012

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More than two million people in the central part of the US hit the ground Tuesday in a region wide earthquake drill.

Oklahoma schools and businesses also took part in the 2nd Annual Great Central US Shakeout to raise awareness that the ground can shake anytime and anywhere.

Fourteen kids in Mrs. Unsell’s third grade class get shaken from taking a math quiz by an announcement from their principal Rod Boyer.

The students of Eastside Elementary in Midwest City immediately hit the floor and take position beneath their desks.

They’re already well educated on the procedure to drop, cover and hold on when the ground starts shaking.

Midwest City Emergency Manager Mike Bower says the drill is for Code One quakes which do minor damage.

“The types of damage that we may get are actually ceiling tile falling, things falling off the wall, things of that nature, so that would be the appropriate action. Now, if you’re in a place where they have larger earthquakes they may ask you to do something different there.”

Oklahoma’s no stranger to earthquakes after experience a record breaking 5.6 temblor last November.

Principal Boyer says at the time he had students who were nervous, scared and concerned.

“They have a lot of questions, so hopefully doing drills like this will calm their nerves a little bit. This can carry over to the home so the kids sometimes know more what to do in situations like that, so our kids sometimes train our parents.”

Ironically, 15 minutes after Oklahoma’s earthquake drill an actual 3.1 magnitude temblor hit six miles south of Paden in Okfuskee County.

The Second Annual Central United States Shakeout coincides with the bicentennial of the largest quake in the continental US.

From December 1811 to February 7th, 1812 a series of temblors destroyed the town of New Madrid, Missouri and created Reelfoot Lake in Tennessee.

While the Shakeout included 65,000 Oklahomans who signed up on the website, the Central United States Earthquake Consortium had events in eight other states to the east.

Executive Director Jim Wilkerson took part in an event at a Memphis, Tennessee Wal-Mart which included employees and customers.

“We had a briefing and talked about earthquake preparedness and why we were doing this and the importance of safety and being prepared. We gave an example of first aid kits, safety kits, and preparedness information and then we conducted the drill.”

Wilkerson says the third annual Central US Shakeout will be held next year again on February 7th.

For more information head over to the Shakeout and Central US Earthquake Consortium websites.

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