MYRTLE BEACH — People throughout the southeast took time at 10:18 a.m. Thursday to stop, cover and hold on as part of the Great Southeast ShakeOut, a multistate earthquake drill.
Myrtle Beach Middle School has held earthquake drills for years. On Thursday, Principal Roger Gray reminded students what to do in case the natural disaster was to hit the area.
We tell them to get under a desk, try to make yourself as small as possible, cover your head and wait for the tremors to pass, Gray said.
According to the Great Southeast ShakeOut website, earthquake hazards vary from region to region with most of the southeast being prone to earthquakes. For example, a small quake that caused no damage was reported Saturday in north Georgia near the border of Tennessee and North Carolina.
Gray said the important thing he hopes students learn is that natural disasters occur and Mother Nature cant be controlled.
The [disasters] our children are used to are hurricanes, but thats different because you know its coming and you can prepare, he said.
Students in Sarah Hecks seventh grade algebra I class discussed the importance of the drill and staying calm in the event of an actual earthquake.
Camden Patsel, 12, said she thought the drills were helpful.
If it really happens, we wouldnt freak out and we will know what to do, she said.
Her classmate Blake John, 12, said he didnt mind participating in emergency exercises such as tornado and fire drills from time to time.
I think practice makes perfect. If you do it a number of times, youll get it. And you know what to do in an emergency, he said.
Gray said some people argue that having students participate in drills is not beneficial, but he disagrees.
Drills do work, he said. Sometimes people question having these exercises. Even though weve never had an earthquake, weve had a fire in the building and a suspected gas leak in this building. When we had to evacuate, the students were able to do so in an orderly fashion.
In South Carolina, more than 200 schools registered to participate in the first-ever ShakeOut in the southeast, according to a release from the S.C. Emergency Management Division. In addition to schools 25 health care facilities, 63 local government agencies and 125 individuals or families registered to participate.
A magnitude-5.8 quake hit Louisa County, Va., on Aug. 23, 2011, which could be felt as far as New York and Georgia. The first-ever Southeast ShakeOut was held at 10:18 a.m. in South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C.
Contact reporter MAYA T. PRABHU at 444-1722 or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_MPrabhu.