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Santa Maria Sun / School Scene

The following article was posted on October 21st, 2015, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 16, Issue 33 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 16, Issue 33

Santa Maria high school students join statewide earthquake drill


Central Coast residents are used to the occasional tiny rumble of an earthquake, or hearing—but not feeling—one that occurs off shore, but sometimes there’s a real heavy shaker, so schools throughout the state got some practice in what to do in the event of a big one. 

The Santa Maria Joint Union High School District joined other schools in the Great California ShakeOut statewide earthquake drill at 10:15 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 15. More than 8,000 students and staff from Righetti, Santa Maria, Pioneer Valley, and Delta high schools participated in the drill to practice what to do during an earthquake and to improve preparedness.

Students at Righetti High School joined in on the statewide earthquake drill called the Great California ShakeOut to encourage earthquake preparedness.

Righetti High School plant manager Danny Sheridan said earthquake and fire drills are held biannually during the school year so participation in the event was perfect timing. “It’s actually nice to piggyback and do the Great California ShakeOut and tie ourselves to that too,” Sheridan said. 

During the simulation, staff announced the drill over the school’s intercom system and students were instructed to move away from windows and heavy objects and duck and cover beneath their desks for one to two minutes. After checking bathrooms, hallways, classrooms, and facilities, staff announced an “all clear” to end the drill. Staff also completed an earthquake hazard checklist by examining and securing interior and exterior hazards. 

Righetti principal Karen Rotondi said though earthquake drills haven’t changed much through the years, they are important to keeping students and staff alert.

“I think it reminds the kids of what we need to do when we have an emergency situation—and for the adults as well,” she said. 

Students giggled and feigned surprise as they climbed under desks but realized the importance of the drill in keep them prepared.

“It’s important for students to know it’s not a joke when we do these drills. It’s fun, because it’s different from your ordinary agenda, but at the same time it brings awareness to the fact that these things do happen, especially in California,” said Righetti senior Layla Venegas.

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