Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

    ShakeOut drill teaches earthquake safety

    California practices for natural disaster

    By Toni Cervantes

    Living in California can be dangerous. With fires looming in the foothills and the threat of earthquakes, Laney College President Tammeil Gilkerson thought it timely to hope for the best but to prepare for the worst.

    Every year at precisely 10:19 a.m. on Oct. 19, public institutions in the State of California conduct the “Great California ShakeOut” earthquake drills.

    The directive to participate in the Great ShakeOut this year came down from Gilkerson following a few years of Laney’s non-participation in the statewide exercise.

    Coordinating the exercise were Interim Director of Business and Administration Services Chungwai Chum and Glenn Pace, a coordinator on the Safety Committee. Staff and student safety aides were dispatched to the Student Center, various classrooms and on every floor of the Tower Building to announce the 60-second drill.

    Students practice ducking and covering during the Shake Out Earthquake Drills on Oct. 19. Laney President Tammeil Gilkerson initiated the drills. Photo by Dolores M. Bernal

    Prior to the drill, announcements were regularly broadcast on school video monitors. Staff from the Safety Committee distributed flyers in key locations throughout the campus instructing students to “drop, cover and hold” at the designated time.

    Following the exercise, a committee debriefing was held to evaluate the effectiveness of the drill and to troubleshoot issues that need to be corrected.

    Nine of 10 classrooms in E Building complied with the drill. A class in Lower C Building watched the instructional video for earthquake preparedness in anticipation of the drill.

    Amy Marshall, supervisor of the Laney Business Office, conducted the drill in the Student Center. “People there were completely oblivious. They looked at me like I was some crazy lady,” she said.

    A logistical problem Laney faces is that some of the desks are too small to provide adequate protection from falling debris. “New, larger desks are being purchased in the near future,” Chum said.

    Pace felt satisfied that the drill went well, but stressed there is always room for improvement.

    “We want to make the drill more efficient and have more staff participation. These are critical health, safety and security concerns,” he said.

    Laney’s Public Information Officer, Dolores M. Bernal, thought the exercise was successful. “Earthquakes are a reality in California. These drills can make a difference and help save lives in the event of a real one.”

    Toni Cervantes is a Tower Staff Writer. Email her at sacredstonelive(at)

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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