Planning Earth Quake Drills

Procedures for planning earth quake drills for schools.

Earthquakes are unpredictable events of nature. They may be slight tremors, which are hardly felt by anyone, or great events of destruction, which can cause the death of hundreds of people. As a result of the potential threat that this natural event has on the lives of people across the world it is most important that we are prepared to survive during this unpredictable event.

Schools house up to hundreds of students each day and, as such, the threat of an earthquake is very great. It is most important that schools undertake regular earthquake drills, which will help to familiarize both students and staff to the ways in which to survive during an earthquake. The following are the recognized procedures by which an earthquake drill is planned and undertaken in schools.


There are six (6) recognized components of an earthquake drill. These are:

1. The alarm phase

During this phase students and staff are alerted by a loud warning device, most likely the school bell. This must be a pre-arraqnged signal known by all so that the response will be immediate.

2. The response phase

In this phase everyone should head for cover - students should get under their desks, tables, chairs or under the door jamb. They should make sure to move away from windows, glass or light fixtures, which pose a serious threat to the student if it should break or get loose. If there is no cover available then the student should crouch and try to protect his/her head.

3. The evacuation phase

After remaining in each respective safe-place until the shaking stops, students and teachers should then evacute the school building(s). The evacuation proceeds through pre-determined safe routes and the evacuees should then gather outside in a safe area, away from buildings. For instance, this safe area can be the playfield, the netball court or the basketball court, once the area is away from buildings, trees and even poles. This safe area is called the assembly point.

4. The assembly phase

At the assembly point the evacuees must be grouped in order. For example, classes are grouped together and even further grouped in alphabetical order or in order as they appear in their respective classrooms.

5. The head count phase - otherwise called the roll call phase.

During the head count phase teachers determine if everyone is present. This can be done by calling from the register the names of students and ticking off those present. In the event of a real earthquake, a search and rescue team would have to be dispatched to look for those who are missing.

6. The evaluation.

After the head count there should be an evaluation, where the school identifies the snags in the drill, problem areas or potential problem areas and then can further aim to rectify these problems for a future earthquake drill.

Once these steps are taken in planning an earhquake drill then students and school staff will be more prepared for the unpredictable strike of an earthquake and loss to life and limb will be lessened.

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