Updated 10/18/2012 12:26 PM
Students learn earthquake safety through Great Southeast Shakeout drill
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CHARLOTTE -- It was a little more than a year ago when parts of North Carolina felt the ground shake. Now schools across the region are preparing if the area were to experience another earthquake.
"I don't think you can ever be over prepared for an emergency situation. While our job is to improve academics, the overall priority is always student safety," said principal Steve Esposito of Highlands Elementary School.
It's part of a regional initiative called the Great Southeast Shakeout.
"Last year with the earthquake that we did have in North Carolina, the state response was to make sure that we had a mandatory practice earthquake drill," said Esposito.
Students across North Carolina and the Southeast are learning to drop, cover and hold on.
"They get under their desk like a regular tornado drill, cover part of their head and their chest and then they hold onto the desk for safety in case something were to pick them up," said teacher Latasha Stinson.
While it rarely happens on the east coast, federal emergency officials say all 50 states are susceptible to earthquakes. Organizers hope the preparedness drill will save lives and prevent injuries from falling furniture and flying objects during an earthquake.
"These are the experiences in school that sometimes they don't see in real life so that when it does happen at home they can teach others because sometimes as adults, we take these things for granted," said Stinson.
Nearly two million people across the Southeast participated in the emergency preparedness drill.