Nearly 1 Million Utahns Drop, Cover and Hold On

Apr 18, 2012

It was the largest earthquake drill in state history and one that students and the staff at the Edith Bowen Laboratory School have been preparing for.

As 10:15 rolls around, Tyler Rasmussen of River Heights and his classmates at the Logan elementary school wait for the announcement from counselor Clint Farmer that the drill has begun. He and other students in Mrs. Moeller's class take cover as she tells them:

"The best things to hold onto are going to be the legs of the desks because that's the sturdiest part of your desk."

Huddled under their desks, the 4th graders can be heard whispering a countdown of 60 seconds - the time recommended by organizers of the Great Utah Shake Out for the drill that had 900,000 Utahns doing the drop, cover, and hold on.

Joe Dougherty is with the Utah Division of Emergency Management, one of the organizers of the Shake Out:

"This would be a disaster in every sense of the word and that's why preparedness is so important. We need people to be ready for this kind of thing."

"Ready in many different ways," says Dan Johnson, Principal/Director of Edith Bowen's Lab School at Utah State University. "One of the most important thing is training the kids in the procedure and the other thing is that the teachers know what that procedure is and follow it exactly."

Following the earthquake drill administrators called for an evacuation of the school, a practice conducted on a regular basis to help the school prepare for any major disaster or accident. As students follow their teachers down the stairwell and out the doors, each carries a bucket containing a kit filled with supplies and tools for use during an emergency.

The all clear is called and members of the school's student council run to the front of the line-up to display their yellow and blue sign that reads "We are Ready".