Students shake out in worldwide safety drill


All schools in PUSD participated in the annual Great Shakeout earthquake drill on Oct. 20, along with millions of people around the world. The drill, which required extensive planning, was meant to prepare students and staff for a massive earthquake.

During the drill, most students evacuated to Piedmont Park, congregating into groups based upon what class they were in. Some students, who had been previously selected to be designated injured students, stayed behind in classrooms to simulate real injuries. A handful of  classes remained in their classrooms to simulate being trapped inside due to debris.

“We tried to open the door to get out [of our classroom], but it was stuck,” freshman Charlotte Lichens said.

The California Educational Code requires schools to have a duck-and-cover drill once per semester, and the drills do not require a school evacuation, which the Great Shakeout does.

“Legally we do not have to [participate in the Great Shakeout],” Muñoz said. “But here in our district, we take extra precautions.”

The administration gave the staff members specific drill instructions on the Friday before the drill during a faculty meeting. Each staff member chooses to work in one of five response teams: the command center, which keeps track of all the students; site security, which protects school property; search and rescue; First Aid; supervise assembly; and student dismissal.

“Typically, people volunteer for positions they have experience in,” said science teacher and First Aid team leader John Savage. “Some of the people on the First Aid team, including myself, have different levels of First Aid training.

Along with staff preparations, some students made plans of their own to pass the time. This year, a couple of students decided that the drill would be the perfect time to order food.

“Someone just said, ‘let’s order some pizza,’ so we put some money together,” freshman Burke St. Claire said.

However, the students’ plans for a pizza delivery quickly fell apart after Domino’s Pizza was unable get a driver to go deliver the pizza to Piedmont Park, St. Claire said.

Junior Lane Bentley also said he remembers getting some classmates to contribute money for a pizza delivery to pass the time during the earthquake drill his freshman year.

Spanning one hour, the Great Shakeout is the longest emergency drill performed in the district.

“I think they’re fine and good to do, but they also waste class time,” junior Eva Hunter said.