It is a matter of when, not if. That was the message Thursday at Providence High School in Burbank, where representatives of Chile's emergency services division joined local and state officials for a simulated earthquake response.
The drill was in conjunction with the statewide event, the Great California Shakeout.
Now in its third year, the Shakeout included 7.9 million participants at businesses, schools and hospitals up and down the state, the largest such drill in the United States, said Mark Benthien, director of outreach at the Southern California Earthquake Center.
Representatives from CalEMA, the L.A. County Office of Emergency Services and the U.S. Geological Survey accompanied Providence students and teachers as they dove under desks during the simulation. Burbank firefighters then extracted three dozen "victims" from classrooms and took them by ambulance to Providence St. Joseph Medical Center where they were treated at a triage center.
"There is no question that [an earthquake] will happen here at some point," said Providence Head of School Michael Collins. "These kids will experience something during their lifetime. It is good that they get the training. We are happy to do it because it gives us a perfect lab for the experience."