Northwest Businesses Join Schools In Biggest Ever Quake Drill

Oct 18, 2012

Thursday, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho joined their Western neighbors for an earthquake drill of unprecedented scale. Some of the record participation was due to businesses joining in the drill. In our area, among those practicing were architects, utilities and banks.

At the headquarters branch of the Washington State Employees Credit Union, floor monitor Ann Malidore starts the drill by blowing a whistle in the lobby.

"Drop, cover and hold," Malidore next shouts. "Earthquake drill!"

Conveniently, there are no customers in line as all the tellers and investment consultants disappear for a minute under their desks. At this moment, literally millions of other people from Alaska to the border with Mexico are practicing the same motion.

Outdoor retailer REI had 74 of its stores participate. But in its case, managers ran the drill before opening the doors for the day.

A loudspeaker announcement sent students at Chinook Middle School in Lacey, Wash., diving under tables for cover during the Great ShakeOut drill. The whole school then practiced an orderly evacuation.

"I thought it went really well," said Assistant Principal Corey Frood. "Kids moved quickly out after the drill and staff was well-rehearsed and prepared." He did note, however, that a few more walkie talkies were probably needed.

Schools and colleges had the highest participation. But adding in businesses, senior homes, government offices and others makes for the biggest earthquake drill in U.S. history.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network

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Great ShakeOut earthquake drills