Thousands of Residents Take Cover for a State-wide Earthquake Drill

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Thousands of Alaskan residents 'dropped, covered, and held on' earlier Thursday in a drill that teaches what to do in the event of an Earthquake.

At 10:18 the students in in Mrs. Blemke's first grade class at Midnight Sun Elementary School, stopped, got under their desks and put their hands over their heads, to practice what to do in case of an earthquake.

Alongside Mrs. Blemke's class, thousands of Alaskan residents simultaneously took cover to participate in the Great Alaska Shakeout. Kate Janoski Emergency Management public information officer for the Fairbanks North Star Borough spoke about what the Great Alaska Shake out is all about.

"International Shake out Day is a day that is set aside, usually the third Thursday in October, where people are encouraged to practice earthquake drills, especially in areas that are earth quake prone. In Alaska we also participate we call it the Great Alaska Shakeout, and we are trying here in the borough to get people get out and practice these drills so that they know what to do in an event of an Earthquake," she said.

Lea Gardine is the outreach specialist and cartographer at the University of Alaska's Geophysical Institute. She works alongside others at the university to better understand Alaska's earthquake activity.

"Well, Alaska as a whole has more earthquakes than anywhere else in North America. We have, depending on how you calculate it, about 75 percent of all North American earthquakes. We also have three of the top 15 largest recorded earthquakes. Including the 9.2 Great Alaska Earthquake, that event people here in Fairbanks felt, even though that was down in Southern Alaska. And mostly effected Anchorage and south central Alaska, but it was even felt here," said Gardine.

Gardine also says, that even though some earthquakes may not cause injuries, they can be damaging to structures, oil and gas tanks. She says it is always a good idea to keep supplies on hand for such events.

First Grader, Natalie, from Mrs. Blemke's class told us why it is important to practice these drills.

"Because you have to stay safe," she said.

Making sure you are safe in case of an emergency can be done by following the simple instructions from the Alaska Seismic hazards and Safety commission.