Southaven, MS Students Practice Earthquake Safety During Annual ShakeOut

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(DeSoto County, MS) If the Big One hits, kids all across the Mid-South will be ready.

Thursday nine states, including Tennessee and Mississippi, took part in a teaching exercise preparing them for what to do if an earthquake hits.

Students and teachers at DeSoto Central Primary School in Southaven held their "ShakeOut" drill, "Beep, beep, beep, beep. This is an earthquake drill. When you here the sound, 'drop, cover and hold on."

Thursday morning second graders at Desoto Central Primary School showed how serious they are about earthquake safety.

The school-wide drill, called the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut, was set to coincide with activities in Mississippi, Tennessee and seven other states.

Doctor Marcia McNutt, Director of the U.S. Geological Survey, says drills like students in Southaven are doing will payoff in an emergency, "That's why it's so important to go through drills. So that 'what to do' becomes second nature and it kicks in automatically: you don't have to think about it."

Students like Jane Sharp have been learning about earthquakes: how quickly they can occur and who is in danger,

"I know that we live near the New Madrid seismic zone. And since we live near that, we can have an earthquake at any time."

Thursday morning's event brought earthquake experts to Southaven: among them first responders from DeSoto County.

EMA Director Bobby Story says a major earthquake could turn a normal school day into a nightmare and push resources to the limit, "As everybody knows, if you have a school go down, you have a lot of children inside. So we also have a lot of state assets that we can call in."

Hopes are students will take the 'drop, cover and hold on' exercise home to their families in case the "big one" does hit.

Morgan Ising says she feels better knowing what precautions to take,

"We need to start getting prepared so that nothing bad happens to us."

Experts want people in Mississippi to know the Magnolia State has its share of earthquakes: on the average of two a year.

While there has never been major damage, Mississippi's quakes have been felt in as many as four other states.