On Thursday Oct. 16, 2014, Bellevue College, as well as 930,000 other Washington state participants, went through The Great Shakeout drill. The Great Shakeout is an earthquake drill in which people rehearse what to do if an earthquake happens. “It takes place all across the United States and in other parts of the world […] like Japan and South Asian countries, the places that are most susceptible to earthquakes,” said Jason Esper, an emergency operations and managements officer at Bellevue College.
Esper explained the planned procedure: “At 10:16 a.m., we will practice an annual earthquake drill […] The way we will do it on this campus is we will send out an alert message which will go out to all the computers that are hardwired in, and it will say ‘this is an earthquake drill, time to practice our earthquake preparedness’ and at that time we would like everybody to drop, cover and hold on.”
“A common question about The Great Shakeout is ‘How long does this usually last?’ and it doesn’t really have a time span, “It’s just about practicing drop, cover, and hold and don’t stay near a door during an earthquake […] It’s like a fire drill: stop, drop and roll […] I would also compare it to the run, fight, hide drill whenever there is an active shooter on campus,” Esper explained.
Christina Zlock, a student who participated in The Great Shakeout drill, said, “I was in the math lab and someone came in and told us that we had to do the earthquake drill. We had to hide under tables and hold on […] It was kind of awkward, because only half of the people did it, and it was really cramped and crowded under the table with some other people who participated. It was not structured and it didn’t seem like it was prepared much and it didn’t really set us up for anything. I doubt people would act like that during an actual earthquake. It didn’t really have much of a help. No one took it very seriously. It wasn’t very clear what was going on or why we were doing it.”
As a key message to students and faculty, “stop drop, roll; run, hide, fight; and drop, cover, hold are the three sayings we want people to remember […] Be prepared and always have extra supplies on hand, whether it’s in your car or house,” Esper mentioned.
Bellevue College Campus Safety would also like students to sign up for mobile campus alerts. To sign up, go to www.bellevuecollege.edu/alerts and log in to RAVE mobile safety using one’s usual network user ID and password used on computers across campus. Then, enter the cell phone numbers to receive alerts. Also, in the case of an emergency, Campus Safety wants to remind students that they should call 9-1-1 and if time permits, call Campus Safety at 425-564-2400.