Puyallup: Sumner

Sumner students duck, cover and hold

Maple Lawn Elementary School fourth-grader Diego Morales and deskmate Samuel Sharey, both 9, take cover under their desk during an earthquake drill Oct. 15 at the school.
Maple Lawn Elementary School fourth-grader Diego Morales and deskmate Samuel Sharey, both 9, take cover under their desk during an earthquake drill Oct. 15 at the school. Staff photographer

With the 6.8 magnitude Nisqually Earthquake occurring nearly 14 years ago, elementary and secondary students have yet to live through an earthquake in their lifetime. In an effort to prepare those students should an earthquake ever strike, the Sumner School District wants its students to be ready.

Students in Amy Larson’s fourth grade class at Maple Lawn Elementary were hard at work on a seemingly normal Thursday morning until Principal Matthew Ziegenfuss got on the intercom. The students joined nearly a million other Washingtonians in the Great Shakeout at 10:15 a.m. on Oct. 15.

“It’s really good practice,” said Cheryl Collins, risk manager for the district. “It’s helpful so you know what to do when an earthquake does happen.”

The students and staff dropped under their desks, covered their heads, and held on to take part in the nationwide earthquake drill.

After coming out from under their desks, all 603 Maple Lawn students and staff members headed out to the field behind the school to wait for the all- clear signal.

For most students, the earthquake drill is routine. Fourth-grader Diego Morales has participated in the Great Shake Out for the last four years.

“Sometimes earthquakes are scary,” he said. “But it’s not scary when it’s only a drill.”

Larson, Morales’ teacher, talked her students through earthquake preparedness on Thursday morning.

“We went over protecting your head and neck,” she said. “And don’t get out from under your desk until it stops shaking.”

According to Collins, the goal of the Great Shakeout and other drills in the district is to practice enough so it comes second nature should a natural disaster like a fire or earthquake occur, or a lock-down type scenario.

“It went really well at all of our schools,” Collins said.

Larson echoed that by saying her fourth-graders did a great job during the drill.

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