JEFFERSONVILLE — After they were given the all-clear, students made their way out from under their desks and outside, where teachers performed a head count to confirm everyone made it out the building safely.
On Thursday, students and school staff in Greater Clark County Schools participated in the third-annual Great Central U.S. ShakeOut, a coordinated earthquake drill by the Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium. Officials with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security oversaw the drills at Utica Elementary School.
Gerri Husband, the field services division director for IDHS, said while other disasters may be more common in the state, it’s still important to know what to do in case of an earthquake.
“Indiana may not see earthquakes every day,” Husband said. “Are tornadoes more common? Perhaps, but we are in an active fault zone.”
The New Madrid Seismic Zone, a fault line that runs through part of Southern Indiana, presents a threat of a magnitude 6 earthquake — which can cause serious damage — in the next 50 years., according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
Chris Ralston, the school safety and attendance officer, said every school in the district conducted the drills simultaneously, following the guidelines they have in place for earthquakes.
Husband said disaster information is good for students to know, but there are resources available for everyone online.
“We think it’s critical to educate kids and instill this information with them, but we can’t forget about everyone else,” Husband said. “That preparedness message is something we all need to embrace.
Students also learned about putting together their own emergency kits for their homes in case they need to await aid in a disaster. She said families, businesses and other people can learn how to prepare by visiting www.shakeout.org/centralus.
Don Watson, acting public information officer of IDHS, showed students an example of what a kit should include, such as a National Weather Service radio powered by batteries, a flashlight, nonperishable food and plenty of water. He said families also could include solar blankets and other items, but they don’t have to buy everything at once.