There was a lot of shakin’ going on today, or so it seemed, as South Pasadena’s five public schools took part in the Great California ShakeOut.
Thousands of students in the South Pasadena Unified School District practiced how to drop, cover, and hold on at exactly 10:20 a.m. during the statewide earthquake drill, the first one taking place in 2008.
As part of the process, South Pasadena Unified School District Superintendent Geoff Yantz said emergency measures were carried out at each campus. During the mock drill, local schools were given scenarios to carry out in face of a real quake or emergency.
Most importantly, the superintendent said each of the schools went through a variety procedures to prepare students for Thursday’s drill. Key, stressed Yantz, was making sure all students and staff were accounted for following the fake quake.
Communication systems between school sites, the district office and maintenance department were all tested, according to Yantz, in the event a real trembler shook the campuses. To the extent a major quake, Yantz said students would evacuate classrooms and their parents would be notified when and if it was safe to pick them up. “After taking roll call, we would then determine when it would be safe, then go about our business for the day,” he said.
During Thursday’s drill, many students went into the “drop, cover and hold” maneuver under their desks before being led out of their classrooms by teachers to the playground area, where they were asked to remain quiet while search and rescue teams, comprised of teachers and volunteers, walked into each classroom and buildings on campus.
During a real emergency, Yantz stressed: “We would do what we could to issue information to families about when and where they could pick-up their children. It really depends on the severity of the situation.
The key, “explained Yantz, would be to “make sure our communication system is up and running. During a power outage, Yantz added, “We would need to deliver generators to the school sites.”
Yantz emphasized the importance of the drill, saying, “This is an important day for our students. While this is an earthquake drill, it serves to prepare for many other situations as well. We always learn from things that we do. It’s a valuable experience and important that we do it right.”