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YUHSD schools participate in 2021 Great Arizona ShakeOut

Student under deskYuma Union High School District schools once again took part in the “Great Arizona ShakeOut,” the international, two-minute earthquake safety drill, on Thursday, Oct. 21, promptly at 10:21 a.m.

The ShakeOut is an annual opportunity to practice how to remain safe during high magnitude earthquakes: "Drop, Cover and Hold On," according to the event’s official website (shakeout.org). It has also been organized to encourage individuals, their communities, schools, and organizations to review and update emergency preparedness plans and supplies, and to secure space in order to prevent damage and injuries.

“The importance of doing the Great Shakeout here in Arizona is that we are close to a fault line with California,” Gila Ridge High School Assistant Principal Joe Kapugia said. “We do have earthquakes here, so it’s important that we practice so we are prepared.

More than 80,000 Arizonans participate each year in the event, including more than 40,000 participants from K-12 schools in the state. All six YUHSD schools participated.

“The ShakeOut made me feel safer,” a Kofa High School student said, following the drill. “We were learning what to do in real circumstances and I think I am definitely more prepared after this drill.”

YUHSD schools used the ShakeOut as an opportunity to practice widespread emergency preparedness as well. Some schools will discuss the importance of being prepared in class following the event, while others will conduct other emergency drills throughout the day.

It is the 10th year Arizona has participated in the event. Nearly 52 million people annually take part in the shakeout across the globe.

According to the Arizona Geological Survey, Arizonans have experienced more than 3,500 earthquakes since 1852, including a magnitude 5.3 near Duncan, Arizona in 2014. The Arizona Seismic Belt, which runs from the north-northwestern to the southeastern part of the state, has incurred multiple earthquakes above magnitude 3.0 with a magnitude 5.0 or higher occurring nearly every 10 years or so.

Eric Patten
epatten@yumaunion.org