According to the Arizona Geological Survey, Arizonans have experienced more than 3,000 earthquakes since 1852. That is why all schools across the Yuma Union High School District will be participating in the "Great Arizona ShakeOut" - an entire week early.
This means that on Thursday at 10:10 a.m. everyone across all YUHSD campuses should "Drop, Cover and Hold On" as if a major earthquake was happening at that moment, and remain in that position for 60 seconds.
For the eighth consecutive year, Arizona is embracing the event. More than 80,000 Arizonans are expected to participate overall this year with a majority of them being made up of K-12 schools in the state. In Yuma County, more than 35,000 people have already signed up - including all YUHSD campuses.
“If they learn how to do it now, it’s something they will know how to do the rest of their lives,” said Arizona Geological Survey Research Scientist Michael Conway, who also coordinates the event for the state.
Nearly 52 million people across the globe are expected to take part in this year's shakeout. Even though the official date of this international event is next week, YUHSD has opted to do it this week due to their Fall Break.
The whole purpose of the event is to encourage individuals, their communities, schools, and organizations to review and update emergency preparedness plans and supplies, and to secure space in order to prevent damage and injuries.
YUHSD schools are using the ShakeOut day as an opportunity to practice widespread emergency preparedness as well. Some schools will discuss the importance of being prepared in class following the event, while others will conduct other emergency drills throughout the day.
The Arizona Seismic Belt registers earthquakes 5.0 or higher every 10 years or so.