The Great American Shakeout
Mississippi lies on the edge of the New Madrid fault zone. While it’s been more than 200 years since a major earthquake rattled our state, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency wants to make sure our students are prepared should history repeat itself.
News 25’s Caroline Eaker takes us to one local classroom that played host today for the Great American Shakeout.
Students at Harrison Central were running for cover, bracing for an earthquake. This time it was only a test. Vice Principal George Black said, “This is our Great American Shakeout, the southeastern version of this. It’s done throughout the country and throughout the world even and we do this every year on 10/19 at 10:19. We use this as an opportunity to let the students be aware of what to do in the case of an earthquake.”
Students are taught to drop to the ground and get under something sturdy like a desk and protect their head and neck and wait until the shaking stops. Third grade teacher Tracey Benton said, “Our goal is to practice this drill in the event of an earthquake. An earthquake, we have never had one here that I know of, but you never know. We could have one and we need our kids to be prepared and to be able to respond quickly.”
It was also a lesson in geology for those who may not be aware that South Mississippi, like other parts of the state, sits on a fault line. Back in 2015, an earthquake shook the small town of Gluckstadt, Mississippi just outside of the metro Jackson area. There were no reported injuries from that quake or its aftershock, but these students will be better prepared should one rattle South Mississippi, thanks to the Great American Shakeout. “I would get under my desk and hold on to the legs very tightly.” “Get under your desk and hold on to the legs of the table.” “You go under your desk and hold onto the legs of the desk.”
“The state requires us to do two earthquake drills a year. This is one of our two and we will do another one later in the school year,” said Black.