Thursday, March 27th may not mark its place in history the way March 27th, 1964 did when a 9.2 earthquake changed Alaska topography forever. However, for those who participated in the Great Alaska Shakeout what they practiced may save their lives in the event of another such megathrust. This year to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the largest quake ever recorded in North America over 103,000 students across Alaska participated in the Great Alaska Shakeout, more than doubling last year’s participation. Here on the Kenai Peninsula over 10,000 students, staff and administrators participated in the drop, cover and hold drill at precisely 1:36pm. In an interview with the Dispatch Bill Withrow acting administrator at Redoubt Elementary said, “It was a wonderful way for all of us to train and get practice for whenever the next earthquake might occur.” The event was coordinated district wide with administrators having to report results following the drill, “We had radio communication with central office to verify our communication process with one another and everything went as planned,” said Withrow.
In Mrs. Obert’s pre-kindergarten class of four and five year olds the drill preparation included explanation of what an earthquake was and what caused them to occur. “Our pre-K students are amazing and they can show how the tectonic plates shift, Mrs. Obert’s used the drill as an opportunity for a history and geographically lesson at well and the kids responded well. Here in the gym students lined up against the walls and weight bearing doorways and everything went well the kids took it seriously and performed perfectly, all our support staff and substitute teachers were involved as well and everything went according to plan with close to 400 kids here at Redoubt Elementary,” he said “This is an immensely important drill as is our monthly fire drills, being prepared for whatever situation may occur is the most important thing we can do for the safety of our students. It’s the practice and training that results in the miracles of saving lives when a disaster occurs,” explained Withrow.