A campus-wide evacuation drill is meant to inform and prepare students on the procedures necessary to follow in order to stay safe during an earthquake. But the Great Shakeout on Fullerton College’s campus seemed to generated more confusion and uncertainty according to some professors and students.
“Heck No! We’re not prepared for an earthquake,” said Bonnie Rick, Cosmetology professor. “Students don’t take this drill seriously. I tell my class they better take this seriously because you never know when something is going to happen.”
On October 17, 2013 at 10:17 a.m., classes were supposed to drop and duck under their desks and wait for someone to come into the room and tell them they could evacuate. After about five minutes, a floor marshall went to classrooms and notified professors that it was time to go. Students leisurely grabbed their belongings and made their way to the field.
The drill is an opportunity for people to practice dropping to the ground, taking cover until the shaking stops and then safely evacuating to an open area.
“A floor marshall assists in evacuating by communicating evacuation routes and safe places of shelter after everyone has evacuated the building, shut all the doors, and reported the status of the evacuation to the coordinator,” said Bonnie Rick, a Cosmetology professor and floor marshall for the drill.
Students stood in the heat, on the football field waiting for instruction. Most students sat and talked with friends, some pulled out laptops, and a world religions class even used this time to meditate.
“I think it’s important that students are informed about what to do when an earthquake hits, but if an earthquake really happened, no one would run to this football field. They would try to get out of here,” said sophomore Joseph Becera.
During an actual earthquake most people are advised to find an open space, and not stand around anything that could fall over. During the drill, quite a few students hung out under the goal posts.
After about 20 minutes of standing around and not knowing what was happening, professors and students were told they could back to class.
“Its really unorganized, we’ve been standing out here for 20 minutes and still don’t know what’s going on,” said Becera. “I thought someone with a microphone would be explaining to us what’s going on, and what to do throughout this whole drill.”
According to www.shakeout.org, as with anything, practice makes perfect. To be ready to protect yourself immediately when the ground begins to shake, practicing these drills is mandatory in schools at least once each year.