Local students learn earthquake safety lessons in annual drill

Great California ShakeOut held at local schools

ORCUTT, Calif. - Students at three Santa Maria area high schools ducked, covered and held on this morning.

The short exercise was part of an annual safety drill called, "The Great California ShakeOut."

Held each year on the third Thursday of October, the ShakeOut is an opportunity for students to learn techniques they can use during an actual emergency, such as an earthquake.

"It's great for students and staff to be aware of what to do in the event of an emergency, what the proper procedures are, as well as to practice it," said Righetti High School plant manager Danny Sheridan.

When the drill began, students and staff received instructions, spoken in both English and Spanish, on what to do.

At Righetti, students quickly ducked under desks and covered their head and necks with their arms and hands.

After a couple of minutes, an announcement over the campus-wide sound-system was made ending the drill.

"I think it's important because earthquakes can happen at anytime, so it's important to be prepared at any moment," said Righetti junior Merissa Salinas.

According to national ShakeOut organizers, the main goal of the event is to make sure people are prepared for major earthquakes. 

The drill is used as an opportunity to learn what to do before, during, and after an earthquake. 

In addition to schools, the ShakeOut is also held at businesses, government buildings, hotels, churches, libraries and other various locations.

The ShakeOut website said nearly 56 million people participated in the drill Thursday, including more than 10 million in California.

In the Santa Maria Valley, Righetti High School, Pioneer Valley High School, and Delta High School all took part in the ShakeOut. 

The Santa Maria Joint Union High School District said Santa Maria High School completed the drill on an earlier date.

For more information on the ShakeOut and other safety tips, visit

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