Shake drill worked well


Men­tion Hiko­rangi Trench, tsunami where not to take shel­ter in an earth­quake and be­ing pre­pared and the year 1-2 chil­dren in Room Three at Dan­nevirke South School knew all the an­swers.

They were not alone.

In their school, in Tararua and through­out the na­tion there was very high par­tic­i­pa­tion in the na­tional Big Shake Out earth­quake ex­er­cise from schools, with all three sec­ondary schools and 16 pri­mary schools sign­ing up with a to­tal of 3092 chil­dren in­volved in Tararua.

Only two busi­nesses regis­tered in Tararua — Can­ter­bury Spin­ners and MCI and As­so­ci­ates, with 66 busi­ness par­tic­i­pants.

Across the na­tion there were 870,000 par­tic­i­pants who dropped, cov­ered and held at 9.30am on Thurs­day Oc­to­ber 18 for the na­tional earth­quake ex­er­cise.

Then the 6.2 earth­quake which shook most of New Zealand on Mon­day af­ter­noon was a timely warn­ing that peo­ple need to be pre­pared.

Al­though it struck when most pri­mary and sec­ondary pupils were go­ing home, Dan­nevirke High School was op­er­at­ing and the re­ac­tion of the stu­dents was ex­cel­lent ac­cord­ing to Prin­ci­pal Di Carter. She said most stu­dents did not need to be asked to drop cover and hold and the earth­quake was per­fect tim­ing to re­in­force what the stu­dents had learnt in the Big Shake Out.

Dan­nevirke Li­brary had also taken part in the Big Shake Out and its staff plus sev­eral South School stu­dents set such a good ex­am­ple the li­brary re­ceived a phone call from some­one who had been in the li­brary con­grat­u­lat­ing them.

At To­tara Col­lege, chil­dren wait­ing with a teacher to be picked up also re­sponded well.

Chil­dren had an im­por­tant role in the Big Shake Out ex­er­cise. Most of them had been in­volved in a study of the haz­ards which threaten the coun­try, par­tic­u­larly earthquakes. They were also able to take the mes­sages home to mum and dad — a way of get­ting vi­tal Civil De­fence in­for­ma­tion into homes.

Each child took the 2018 Shake­out Chal­lenge home and went through the eight chal­lenges with wha¯ nau.

The par­ents signed off the ex­er­cises once they were com­pleted. Chil­dren earned a prize of ei­ther a fris­bee, coloured pens, a torch or pens.

Dur­ing the Big Shake Out South School dropped, cov­ered and held then as­sem­bled in the playground in four min­utes.

Nine South School staff and two lo­cals at­tended a Civil De­fence meet­ing with Tararua Dis­trict Coun­cil Re­silience Man­ager Paddy Driver days later to find out how to op­er­ate a Civil De­fence base at the school.

Al­ready the school has CD ra­dios and a water tank but the process to op­er­ate the cen­tre is to be taught in a one-day train­ing course early next year.

Other schools are be­ing or­gan­ised, with To­tara Col­lege al­ready ahead in the process.

Any lo­cal per­son in­ter­ested in par­tic­i­pat­ing in civil de­fence re­sponse should ring South School 06 374-8915.

Room Three teacher Cath Bone shows the brochure out­lin­ing the eight chal­lenges the chil­dren were of­fered.

Dan­nevirke South School Room Three chil­dren knew how to drop, cover and hold dur­ing the Big Shake Out on Oc­to­ber 18.

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