SC schools take part in ‘Great Southeast Shakeout’ safety drill, teach students about earthquakes

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CHESNEE, S.C. (WSPA) – October 17-23 is Earthquake Preparedness Week. As a part of the awareness effort, public schools across South Carolina practiced how to stay safe during an earthquake.

In most cases of severe weather, like tornados and thunderstorms, people generally have time to prepare for the what’s ahead. When an earthquake occurs, there is little to no time for people to arrange safety measures. As a result, many people rely on their instincts or, in some cases, drills they are taught in school to stay safe.

On Thursday, classrooms across South Carolina took cover as a part of the ‘Great Southeast Shakeout’ earthquake safety drill.

“We got underneath the table and then we held on to one of the legs and then put our hands over our head,” said Emary Greene, a 4th grader at Cooley Springs Elementary school.

The drill is in an effort to teach students and faculty what to do when an earthquake occurs.

Often times, it is an event that many people don’t expect to happen in South Carolina.

“We need to make sure that our kids are prepared for anything that comes their way. And so, to know that they are cared for wherever they are in school, that school leaders and teachers are taking care of our children and teaching them how to respond in an emergency situation. It makes me feel confident that our kids will be safe,” said Stephanie Blanton, Principal at Cooley Springs Elementary.

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In the event the ground beneath us begins to shake unexpectedly, school leaders and teachers are making sure their students are safe.

“The threat of earthquakes is very real and you know most people in South Carolina don’t realize how many earthquakes we have every year,” said Doug Bryson, Director of Spartanburg County Emergency Management. “It is a real threat that’s why we encourage this participation in this drill.” 

According to South Carolina Emergency Management, there is an average of 10-15 earthquakes that portions of the state per year. Fortunately, most of them are of low magnitudes that often times go unrecognized.

“We do have fault lines that run all the way across the state and through the Upstate and into the mountains of western North Carolina,” explained Bryson. “I can’t stress enough that there’s no advanced warning to these.” 

Some students told 7NEWS they felt a little uneasy for Thursday’s drill.

“I was a little bit nervous,” said Greene.

Now, they will walk out of school with more knowledge on what to do if an event like this occurs in the future.

If an earthquake happens, South Carolina Emergency Management encourages you to practice the following:

  • DROP where you are, onto your hands and knees
  • COVER your head and neck with one arm and hand, as you crawl for shelter under a nearby table or desk
  • HOLD ON to your shelter with one hand until the shaking stops (remain on your hands and knees and covering your head/neck with your other arm and hand)

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