The question written on a small dry-erase board next to the door of Fallon Farokhi's fourth-grade class might have been a clue as to what was to come later in the day.

"Good Morning! Do you know what to do if an earthquake happens at school? Come tell me!" Ms. Farokhi requested while adding a smiley face before her name.

While members of the student council and the entire faculty and staff at Edith Bowen Laboratory School were in the know, the majority of students at the elementary school on the campus of Utah State University were unaware that the Great Utah ShakeOut earthquake drill was scheduled to take place throughout the entire state at 10:15 a.m. Tuesday.

But even though the students in Farokhi's class were in the middle of a reading discussion in one corner of the classroom, once the announcement came over the intercom that there was an earthquake, they quickly sought cover underneath their desks.

"Drop, cover and hold on," school counselor and safety liaison Clint Farmer instructed.

While tucking themselves in was easier for some children than others, the class remained remarkably quiet for a couple of minutes before Farmer's voice came over the intercom again.

"The tremors have stopped," he said. "Please evacuate the building in fire-drill manner."

Most students were silent as they filed out into the hallway, went down the stairs and congregated in an open area on the west side of the school. Teachers carrying "emergency preparedness buckets" counted the heads of students, who were soon distracted by two men carrying an injured "person" on a backboard.

The casualty turned out to be Big Blue, who Farmer revived though the use of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

"Big Blue! Big Blue!" the student body chanted as USU's mascot went from flat on his back, to limping and dazed, to running full-bore around the school yard in a matter of moments.

Edith Bowen was one of numerous schools throughout Cache County that participated in the Great Utah ShakeOut. Logan, Mountain Crest and Sky View high schools were all involved, as well as about 15 other preschools and middle and elementary schools.

"I think things went pretty well," Farmer said of the drill at Edith Bowen. "The kids can get out of the building pretty quickly."

The "emergency preparedness buckets" are new at the school, having been completed just about a month ago. Each bucket contains water, candy (for diabetic students), snacks, a small pry bar, a first-aid kit, a student roll with emergency contact information, a large plastic sheet and duct tape.

"If it was raining right now, we could put the plastic out and put the kids under it," Farmer explained. "Or you can lay it on the ground if they have to stay outside for a while and they get tired. Or if it's a lockdown situation, you can even duct tape it up in a corner to make a portable bathroom. Duct tape and Visqueen are pretty handy things."

After the drill, members of the student council held up a banner that proclaimed: "We're ready!"

"I think this will help us to know what to do in the case of a real earthquake," said council member and fifth-grader Molly Mortensen. "But I also think we'd be more panicked in a real earthquake."

"Some people just kept yelling out, 'Oh my gosh!'" said fellow classmate and council member Gauri Garg. "But everyone did pretty well. But we did have one boy who had kind of a hard time. He's 5-foot-5 and couldn't fit under his desk. Our teacher said he'd have to go find cover under another table."



While The Herald Journal welcomes comments, there are some guidelines:

Keep it Clean: Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexual language. Don't Threaten: Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated. Be Truthful: Don't lie about anyone or anything. Be Nice: No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading. Be Proactive: Report abusive posts and don’t engage with trolls. Share with Us: Tell us your personal accounts and the history behind articles.