ShakeOut drill emphasizes importance of earthquake preparedness, education



“Please pardon this interruption,” Aimee Monticchio, principal of Langston Hughes Middle School in Reston, Va., announced over the school's public address system at 10:18 A.M. on 18 October. Time to drop, cover, and hold on, she told the 965 seventh and eighth graders. They were practicing the safety steps in an earthquake drill along with an estimated 1.8 million other people in the southeastern United States taking part in the region's first Great ShakeOut awareness exercise. ShakeOut exercises have been held in California since 2008, and the drills have gradually spread to other parts of the United States and to other countries as well.