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Students dive for desks in ‘quake

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That was the drill practiced Thursday

By Lisa King and Todd Martin

 

School children in Shelby County participated Thursday in an 8-state earthquake drill, but officials said the did not know how many other agencies did the same.

The Great Central United States Shakeout was at 10:15 a.m., and Emergency Management Agency Director Paul Whitman said that afternoon that he had not had time to compile how many agencies and organizations ended up practicing safety maneuvers.

“That information will be compiled by surveys at a later date,” he said.

Tracey Cline, principal of Wright Elementary School, said the drill at her school went “very smoothly.”

 “It was very organized, and I was very impressed with how the staff and the students conducted themselves,” she said.

The drill’s procedure called for people to drop, take cover and hold on, and at Wright, that scene was carried out smoothly, as students climbed under their desks or tables and stayed quiet as the lights were turned off.

During the drill, which lasted about five minutes, fifth-grade teacher Cameron Noble stressed to students the importance of keeping quiet.

“OK, it needs to be a level zero in here,” she told students. “Because if this was a real earthquake, it won’t be so quiet, so you need to be able to hear instructions.”

No governmental facilities contacted by The Sentinel-News said they had participated in the drill, including Simpsonville City Hall and the Shelby County judge-executive’s office.

“We were too busy in Simpsonville,” City Administrator David Eaton said.

Deputy County Judge-Executive Rusty Newton said his office didn’t participate because there were not many people in the office at the time.

“Hardly anybody was here,” he said. “But we all know what to do, and we have an earthquake plan in place.”

Holly Husband, spokesperson for Jewish Hospital Shelbyville, said the hospital did not participate because officials are planning on taking place in an earthquake drill scheduled for March.

The Shake Out drill was organized in California in 2007 and spread to eight more states, including Kentucky, where it is in its third year. In 2012, 2.4 million participated in the drill, including 429,919 Kentuckians.

David Davis, the Kentucky Emergency Management Region 5 earthquake program coordinator, said he was very pleased with how the drill went overall.

“It was very well received,” he said. “I’m getting in some reports to that effect, and I understand that Twitter has seen quite a bit of action. People are talking a lot about earthquake drills.

“We don’t have the final count of how many participated today, but we had two-point-nine million signed up to participate in the CUSEC region.”

Davis said that included 543,587 in Kentucky. “We are definitely pleased; this is more than we’ve ever had,” he said. “This is the third year, and it’s increased each time.”