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California Shakeout Drill, Oct. 17
October 3, 2013 - By Flavia Potenza
PHOTO COURTESY OF NICOLE SHEARD
Students, teachers and parents participate in the California Shakeout Drill at Topanga Elementary in 2012.
Topanga Elementary Charter School will join nearly four million people in Los Angeles and Orange Counties who will be participating in The Great California Shakeout Drill on Oct. 17, at 10:17 a.m.
Participation in the drill, which began in 2008, is a way to practice how to survive and recover before, during and after big earthquakes wherever you live, work or travel. As with anything, practice makes perfect and the schools staff and students take emergency preparation seriously.
As part of our Safe School Plan, said Principal Nicole Sheard, we believe that it is crucial that not only does everyone know what to do in an emergency situation, but that we practice as well. Students are assured that they will be safe and well cared for at school, but it helps everyone to go through the motions and to see that everyone has a role in ensuring the safety of our students and our school community as a whole.
Official rescue teams who have been dispatched to the scene of earthquakes and other disasters around the world continue to advocate use of the internationally recognized Drop, Cover and Hold On protocol to protect lives during earthquakes: DROP to the ground (before the earthquake drops you!); Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table; HOLD ON to it until the shaking stops, in this case, for 60 seconds.
If there isnt a table or desk near you, drop to the ground in an inside corner of the building and cover your head and neck with your hands and arms. Do not try to run to another room just to get under a table. The main point is to not try to move but to immediately protect yourself as best as possible where you are. Anyone can participate in the drill within two weeks before or after Oct. 17.
It's impossible to fully prepare for the unknown, Sheard notes, but this simulation gives us an opportunity to work out any kinks that could be an obstacle in fully executing our safety plan.