The Great Shakeout Hits Portola High


William Hsieh

Junior Kameran Mody is instructed in science class to practice finding shelter as he would during the event of a real earthquake.

Nicholas Hung, Staff Writer

The student body and staff participated in the Great Shakeout on Nov. 1, a surprise earthquake drill ending in a school-wide evacuation to the football field. The drill began at the end of first period and continued into office hours.

“Practicing will get you ready for the real thing, and if we don’t do our drills we’re not going to know what to do,” assistant principal Kris Linville said.Drills help iron out those details of the teachers and the students not knowing what to do and for me to confirm what should be happening.”

As Portola grows into a full set of classes next year, the school will have to change the emergency plans again to manage the growing student population. Streamlining the evacuation process to ensure student safety is the school’s top priority, and Linville said he hopes to improve the efficiency of all drills moving forward.

“Ideally we would get to a point where I could throw a drill date out there, and a teacher doesn’t even know and can react to it. Rather than me having to prep them for it, I would love to get to a level where the fire alarm goes, people wait and exit to the football field,” Linville said.

The Great Shakeout has 62,394,803 registered participants as of October 2018, according to Almost 30 million schools and districts across the country participated, making it the largest earthquake drill in the world. Its website also links viewers to evacuation manuals, emergency kits and safety videos, providing every resource needed to prepare for an upcoming earthquake.

“It’s also our terrain and where we live in California. We are near a fault line with a high possibility of an earthquake here, so we want to be prepared,” junior Krishan Patel said.

In addition to two fire drills, one lockdown drill and another earthquake drill, the Great Shakeout is part of five mandatory drills all high schools must practice every year. These drills ensure that everyone at school knows what to do in an emergency.

“We always live thinking nothing bad will happen to us, even when we see bad things happen around us, so it’s a really good idea to be prepared just in case,” junior Nishad Francis said. “We don’t take the initiative to practice ourselves, so having something organized like this is definitely helpful.”