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.