Drop, Cover and Hold On

  • Kindergarten student at Frazier Park School practicing earthquake preparedness drill last week. [photo by Patric Hedlund]

    Kindergarten student at Frazier Park School practicing earthquake preparedness drill last week. [photo by Patric Hedlund]

Great ShakeOut prepares for earthquake

By Patric Hedlund

One moment about 18 eager kindergardeners were telling how bats use echolocation to  navigate in the dark, the next moment Michelle Penner’s Frazier Park School class was responding to a loudspeaker alert that an earthquake was underway. Tiny youngsters dived under desks, covering their heads with one hand, holding on to table legs with the other. When the all-clear sounded, they stood and made an orderly exit outside, where they were secured and counted while adults did assessments. Six children were found to be missing.

Over at Frazier Mountain High School, El Tejon School and Peak to Peak Mountain Charter, the scene was much the same. At Peak to Peak, principal Danny Whetton went to the electrical power box to turn off power in case an electrical line dropped down. Teachers put on hardhats and carried backpacks with flashlights, batteries and frst aid kits.

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) volunteers were called on by radio to report to Pine Mountain Club.One crew checked damage in the village; another checked the PMC clubhouse facility. Piñon Pines CERT members joined in, as did Kern County Fire Station 58.

The October 17, 10:17 a.m. Great ShakeOut earthquake drill included 9.8 million people in California this year. The Mountain Enterprise appeared to be the only local business registered to participate. Linda Curtis of Frazier Park registered as an individual.

Frazier Park School Principal Keri St. Jeor printed out earthquake safety tips to send home with students. Go to www.shakeout.org for good pointers.

Oh, the lost children? Custodian Kevin Royle pulled them out of line to test the teachers. The teachers passed with flying colors.

Photo captions:

Kindergarten teacher Michelle Penner shelters with students under a table for earthquake drill.

High school students take shelter at FMHS.

Michelle Penner tells kindergarteners that the drill is just a practice, and explains why it is necessary.

Peak to Peak secretary Wendy Worster evacuates, bringing her emergency forms with current parental contact information and permission slips for each student.

The Frazier Park School evacuation to the parking lot was orderly and calm.

Right, Kevin Royle and Principal Keri St. Jeor debrief about the “lost students” exercise and use of radios.

Above, At Peak to Peak Mountain Charter Principal Danny Whetton checks the junction box to turn off power. Right, Personnel put on hard hats and carry packs with emergency supplies.

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This is part of the October 25, 2013 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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