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Local schools practice earthquake safety

JOHNSTON CITY (WSIL) — People across the country practiced steps to keep them safe in the midst of an earthquake.

Jefferson Elementary student, Jake Etherton, can explain what causes earthquakes, "When the bottom of the earth’s plate rumbles."

It’s part of what he’s learning during the Great Shakeout, a nationwide earthquake drill and informational campaign.

Harvey Henson, Assistant Professor in Geology at SIU, says it’s a great way for people to prepare for earthquakes, "The great shakeout is a great opportunity, pardon the pun, to practice the earthquake drill that we call Drop Cover and Hold On."

Students at Jefferson Elementary in Johnston City participated in the nationwide drill Thursday.

Jaxon Jones, another student at Jefferson, knows the proper steps to keep himself safe, "You get under your desk, and hold on to the legs of your desk, and stay there until the principal says clear."

Experts say it’s important to be able to think quickly in the event of an earthquake.

"Earthquakes happen without warning, so it’s important to know in advance, how to prepare, how to respond," Dr. Henson said.

Jefferson Elementary Principal, Andria Murrah, says it’s especially important for students in our area to be prepared, "We live in Southern Illinois on the New Madrid Fault line so we know earthquakes could happen at any given point for our students."

Henson points out that the fault lines in our area are active, "We have small earthquakes throughout the region. A couple weeks ago we had a small cluster of earthquakes down in Missouri… So those are reminders that the area is still seismically active. We’ve had recent earthquakes in the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone that people have felt in the last ten years, so people should just be reminded."

He says people should include earthquakes to the list of emergencies they prepare for. 

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