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Wichita schools begin practicing earthquake procedures

Published: Oct. 24, 2016 at 12:44 PM CDT
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Students and staff at Wichita Public Schools are starting to practice how to protect themselves in case of a major earthquake this week.

The district says it's teaching the "Drop, Cover & Hold" response plan.

That training program began Tuesday and runs though the end of the week. It includes a video and practice drills. You can view the video below.

“This is the first time we are asking all schools to practice the Drop, Cover and Hold earthquake drill,” said Terri Moses, Executive Director of Safety Services in a press release. “Earthquake drills were an option for schools to practice since last school year, but due to the increase of earthquake activity in Kansas, we are asking schools to practice so they will know what to do in case a more powerful earthquake occurs.”

Drop, Cover and Hold is supported by guidelines from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The Wichita school district Tuesday held its first earthquake drill in response to the sharp increase in the number of earthquakes felt in south central Kansas.

From now on, all teachers will be asked to show a video on how to respond to an earthquake and to go over the drills at the beginning of the school year.

Moses says larger earthquakes have raised the awareness level and need to address safety measures in the area. She says the district decided it was time to be more proactive, moving toward the video training, beyond simply providing information on what to do in case of an earthquake.

Moses says over the next week and a half, the district will be showing the video and going over the drills.

"We're going to be asking every classroom to practice drop, cover and hold," Moses says.

She says students she's seen participate in the training so far understand the need to drop down for stability, cover their heads to to get underneath something like their desks to protect themselves from falling objects.

Eleven-year-old fifth grader Jimena Umana says an earthquake she felt was at night. She says it was strong enough to shake her bed. That night, she followed her dad's instructions, but was nervous and didn't know what was happening. Now, she says she has a better understanding and knows exactly how to respond, especially if she's at school.

"To always listen to your teacher to know what to do," Umana says.