Great Nevada Shakeout Teaches Kids Quake Safety

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Reno, NV - For these fourth graders at Peavine Elementary School in Reno, and classrooms all across Washoe County, anticipation was building Thursday morning as they prepared for the most comprehensive earthquake drill in state history. The main point...

"Essentially, drop, duck and cover, and hold on," says Graham Kent, Director of the Nevada Seismological Laboratory at the University of Nevada Reno. "We're trying to keep to a very simple message. "

After hearing from Kent and Washoe County Superintendent Heath Morrison about what to do when the ground shakes, it was time for the students to practice once the clock struck 10:21 a.m.

The kids climbed under their desks and waited. Then, they had to evacuate the building.
After an orderly march outside and a quick head count, it was back to the classroom to talk about what they learned.

Maddie Luevano, a fourth grader, says she learned something new: "The safest place to go is probably under your desk and if you can't fit under your desk or under a table, you should get in a spot where heavy things aren't and cover your head."

"If there's anything above your bed, you should take it down so then it doesn't fall on you if there's an earthquake around your house, says Mathew Chand, another fourth grader.

"I was very impressed with how our kids handled this," says Mike Paul, the principal at Peavine Elementary School. "They're going to be very excited to go home and tell their parents what happened."

"We're hoping the kids will come home now and have their parents do that as well," says Kent. "So it's a larger education effort. But we're really trying to keep the drop, cover and hold on drill very simple because that's what we need people to do.

Altogether, about 8 million students in Nevada, California, and Guam participated in this coordinated drill. Washoe County is the only district in Nevada to sign all of its schools on to participate.