Quake drill gets school ready for shaker

Palm Crest Elementary students and faculty responded to a non-existent earthquake the morning of Nov. 10. The school-wide earthquake drill had originally been planned to take place Oct. 21 as part of the Great California Shakeout, but inclement weather that week forced the local school to postpone its involvement until this month.

Palm Crest's student body gathered on the school's playground for 45 minutes during the drill while staff and administration ran through emergency-preparedness scenarios.

"I hope that our students learned what to expect in the event of an earthquake and what each one of them can do to protect themselves in and out of the classroom," Palm Crest Principal Karen Hurley said.

Students passed the 45-minute wait on the playground reading, playing cards, coloring, doing homework or just talking with their friends.

"I'm kind of happy we get to miss class a whole hour," fourth-grader Allen Kim said.

Students were still learning outside of the classroom though. They were taught to drop and cover, how to safely evacuate a building and how to set up an emergency-response center if an earthquake strikes.

"It's serious," Allen said. "We had to duck under tables, it was so much fun."

Several Palm Crest students feigned injury during the trial run so teachers could practice their response in such a situation.

"We're trying to simulate what would really happen," fourth-grade student Justin Hyon said.

The simulation allowed the school's administration to evaluate their emergency response, Hurley said.

"It is actually extremely important that not only the administration of a school know what to do in the case of an emergency or earthquake, but that all members of a school community know how to respond," Hurley said. "My first responsibility as the administrator of a school is for the safety of my students, staff and volunteers. Practicing these procedures regularly are key to ensuring the safety of all."

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