Moline students join major earthquake drill

Inside Sarah Tollenaer’s sixth grade class, there’s a lesson about seismology on Thursday.

“If that falls on your head, it’s better that it falls on the desk and not on top of your head,” she tells students.

And at 10:15, the make-believe earthquake begins.

John Deere Middle School is joining thousands of students across nine states. They’re participating in the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut.

“They’re not very common here,” said Zamone Perez, 13. “But still, it can happen anywhere.”

More than two million people are learning the basics of earthquake safety. It comes down to drop, cover and hold on.

“They just had us go under our desks and then hold on,” said Emma Kindred, 13. “In case anything would fall on us, we would be covered.”

It’s a bit uncomfortable under the desks.

“I felt like a contortionist trying to fit under that desk,” Perez said.

It’s even tougher for the adults. But these are meaningful moments.

“It’s always good to be prepared for anything,” Perez said.

The strategy is clear, and the drill only takes a few moments. It’s a lesson that could save a lot of lives.

Students are learning about disaster preparedness. It’s about safety and quick responses.

“You’ll know what to do,” Kindred said. “You’ll be calmer than if you didn’t know what to do before.”

Life lessons they’ll remember at John Deere Middle School.

“We’ve practiced this,” Tollenaer concluded. “We know what to do. Everything will be okay.”

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