Mutant turtles take cover in quake exercise
Students at Garin College pretended to be teenage mutant turtles for the national Shakeout earthquake drill.
They joined nearly 22,000 people from the Nelson and Tasman regions and more than 1.3 million New Zealanders who took part in the drill at 9.26am yesterday. A magnitude-2.8 earthquake was felt near Whanganui five minutes earlier at 9.21am.
Deputy principal Denis Moriarty said Garin's earthquake procedure was based on the "drop, cover and hold" drill.
He advised students to get under a desk and curl up like a turtle, explaining the "mutant" term referred to the need to hold onto desk legs. Teacher Glynis Woodhead's year-9 English class was allowed one practice round before the real drill was announced by intercom. The students held the turtle pose for 40 seconds, because that was the approximate duration of the September 4, 2010, Canterbury earthquake.
Mr Moriarty said the drill was important, because it made sure the students knew what to do in the likely event of an earthquake, saying the Nelson region was bordered by several fault lines.
"If we don't practise it, we won't get it right," he said.
Year-9 students Elizabeth Riddell and Olivia Robinson said their families had similar earthquake plans at home, while classmate Caleb Howley said the drill reminded him of a tsunami warning he experienced while living in the Cook Islands.
"Natural disasters are really, really annoying," he said.
Teachers looked for the students who did the drill best, with Kate Hand, of year 9, and Theo Herring, of year 13, given a wind-up safety torch from Nelson Tasman Emergency Management.
Emergency Management acting manager Debbie de Geus said she was thrilled the drill helped people to think about what they would do in an earthquake.
"It's been really successful. We're really pleased," she said.
Mrs de Geus was impressed to hear reports that recent "imports" from Canterbury had stepped up during the drill to give advice to Nelson and Tasman residents about earthquake safety.
She had also received calls from people who missed the drill but still wanted to participate, saying the website was still open for registration for another two weeks. Those who want to do the drill in their own time can sign up at shakeout.govt.nz.
- © Fairfax NZ News