All schools in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District (KPBSD) participated in the Great Alaska Shake Out “Drop, Cover & Hold On” earthquake drill at 10:15 a.m, Thursday, Oct. 15. Students and staff joined an estimated 120,000 Alaskans across the state who registered to participate. Alaska joined over 42.6 million participants worldwide in the annual event.
“We need to be prepared for incidents we hope never happen, but if they do, we can minimize the danger to our students, staff and community,” said Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Support, Dave Jones.
At Redoubt Elementary, Darilynn Caston’s kindergarten class preformed the drill flawlessly.
“We practice all year how to remain calm, regardless of the situation so that if it ever happens we know how to do what we need to do to be safe and experience what that might look like,” she said.
Caston explained the meaning of Drop, Cover & Hold On.
“They are trained to drop as low as they can to the ground and quickly get under a structure that will protect their head and body and hold on to it so that if it starts to rattle or move around the structure, like a table, stays above them where they can be safe until they can come out and continue on,” she said.
At the completion of the drill, Caston explained to the class what would happen when the quake stopped.
“We talk about if we are under a table or structure when the event is over not to come out right away but to wait a little time to be sure it is really over,” Caston said. “What that looks like for a five or six- year-old might be (mean) saying their ABC’s at least a couple of times or counting to a certain ‘whatever.’ It is to give them (enough) time under that structure. The distraction of saying their ABC’s or counting also helps them slow down and stay calm so fear or panic doesn’t take over in a real situation. We also talk about that if an adult is not in the room what they need to do to make the choices so they stay safe and how to do that so they become their own little superhero, and protect themselves and be safe regardless of where they are in the community, school or home to take ownership to protect themselves.”
Six-year-old Banyan Joachim participated in the drill. He hid under his desk rather than the strawman or palm tree in the room.
“Because it would just break in half and we’ve done this before and we know to get under something that will protect you and not break,” Joachim said.