Thousands of southerners dropped, covered and held yesterday for the nationwide civil defence drill, ShakeOut.
More than 24,000 southerners registered for the event, held to ensure people were prepared for civil defence emergencies.
Donovan Primary pupils Luke Hartley and Mytchell Carmichael, both 6, were colouring pictures of Stan the Civil Defence dog when the alarm sounded at 9.26am.
Luke said he knew about the Christchurch earthquakes - "the earthquake makes a crash and a crack in the ground" - while Mytchell said he got under the desk to practice keeping safe.
"We went under the table and we went under quickly so if the ground shakes and if a piece of the roof fell down, you're under the table so the roof won't hit you," Mytchell said.
However, he was unsure if the word "turtle" was the best way to describe what people needed to do under their desks.
"If you're a turtle, you don't have to duck down because turtles have shells."
Emergency Management Southland manager Neil Cruickshank said he was thrilled so many people had registered to take part in the ShakeOut.
"It's really great to see, especially participation from the schools. It's really important that they're on board, because they help pass the message onto the parents," Mr Cruickshank said.
Nationwide, more than 1.3 million people registered to take part.
At Southland Hospital's children's ward, patients ducked under tables, while an Environment Southland meeting was disrupted so staff and councillors could evacuate the building.
At the Alliance Lorneville meatworks, carpenters took cover under workshop benches as the emergency siren sounded before the site was evacuated.
The works' emergency rescue team then staged a "rescue" of two dummies trapped in rubble, before patching up "walking wounded".
At Queenstown Primary School, pupils raced under desks before evacuating to the school field, while at the Clyde dam 40 staff took part in the drill.
Terrace Kindergarten head teacher Coralie Reid said drills had become part of the children's routine, particularly as the kindergarten had hosted displaced Christchurch children after last year's earthquake.
Queenstown Lakes District Council emergency manager Jon Mitchell said more than 7500 people had registered to take part.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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