Sheriff’s Office recognizes school for drill performance

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Management Division wishes to recognize Principal Constance Goodwine-Lewis and her staff and students at Broad River Elementary School for their exemplary performance during last week’s earthquake drill.

Governor Nikki Haley proclaimed the week of October 12-18 to be Earthquake Awareness Week in South Carolina, and the SC Emergency Management Division encouraged everyone to take this opportunity to learn about our state’s seismic fault system and how best to prepare for earthquakes. The highlight of the week’s activities was the Great Southeast ShakeOut which took place October 16 at 10:16 a.m.

The Great Southeast ShakeOut is part of the largest earthquake safety drills ever held, with an estimated 2.1 million registered participants across the Southeast. Individuals and communities throughout Delaware, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia participate in this annual drill that is designed to teach and practice the recommended safety procedures to take during an earthquake. This year there were an estimated 26.1 million participants registered worldwide for the event.

The ShakeOut drill was executed throughout the Beaufort County School District. Broad River Elementary School was chosen as this year’s representative school for the event, and members of the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Management Division were on scene to observe the school in action.

At 10:16 a.m. the students were alerted that the drill had begun and were advised to take cover as previously instructed. The students quickly and quietly took shelter under their desks, effectively employing the “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” procedure that is recommended to help shield the neck and head against falling debris during an earthquake. At the conclusion of the 60-second drill, the fire alarm was sounded, and students filed outside to pre-determined meeting places. This allowed for the school administrators to accurately account for each and every student and staff member.

There have been 24 low-magnitude earthquakes recorded in South Carolina since February 2013, including a 4.1 in Edgefield the evening of February 14.  Our state experiences approximately 10 to 20 earthquakes a year according to geologists with the College of Charleston.  The epicenter of the largest earthquake ever recorded along the eastern United States seaboard was just outside of Charleston on August 31, 1886. The 7.3 magnitude quake devastated the region.

For more information on the Great Southeast ShakeOut and earthquake safety and preparedness, visit:  http://www.shakeout.org/southeast.

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