10/24/2012 10:16:00 AM Middle school students drop and cover in Shakeout event
Emily Szaflarski, left, and Courtney Stahley take cover under their table, holding on to the legs in the “drop, cover and hold on” drill during Glassford Hill Middle School’s earthquake drill on Oct. 18.
Courtesy Photo /Timber Flory
Special to the Tribune
At exactly 10:18 a.m. a voice announced over the speakers at Glassford Hill Middle School, "Shakeout." Immediately, more than 400 students and staff dropped to the floor and ducked under the closest table or desk and held on to the legs.
Four minutes later the fire alarm sounded and step two of the earthquake drill began. Everyone evacuated the building to his or her designated location. Just 12 minutes after the drill began, all students were back in their seats and involved in their class work.
GHMS was one of hundreds of schools across Arizona to participate in the Great Shakeout, an earthquake drill designed to help citizens prepare in the event of a severe earthquake. This past year, Arizona recorded 131 earthquakes; and while most were 3.6 magnitude on the Richter Scale or below, a severe earthquake along the lines of 7.5 magnitude is not out of the question.
In Arizona, mandatory monthly drills usually mean fire and lockdown drills. This month, however, the earthquake preparedness drill was the safety drill of choice for many schools across the U.S. involving more than 14.5 million students.