Sullivans School holds base-wide earthquake and tsunami drill

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Sullivans School holds base-wide earthquake and tsunami drill

by: Steve Parker | .
DODEA teacher | .
published: December 20, 2012

Yokosuka, Japan - The measure of any organization is tested by watching how carefully it cares for its most vulnerable members.

On March 11, 2011, the most powerful earthquake in Japan’s recorded history hit in Tohoku province north of Yokosuka, Japan. On December 7, 2012, almost one and a half years later, The Sullivans School and Commander, Fleet Activities, Yokosuka (CFAY) Training and Readiness office held its second earthquake and tsunami drill to ensure the safety of their most vulnerable members, the children of United States Navy sailors and civilians serving on board Yokosuka Naval Base.

The drill involved several base organizations and over 1400 students, teachers and base personnel and has been in the planning stages since the beginning of the 2011/12 school year. Personnel from CFAY Security, CFAY Safety, United States Naval Hospital (USNH) Yokosuka, CFAY Training and Readiness Office and CFAY Emergency Management Office were all involved in the planning, coordination and execution of the drill.

Lieutenant David Johnston, Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY) Training and Readiness Officer, stated, “Lessons learned from our first drill on May 18, 2012 allowed this drill to run more smoothly and quickly with easier accountability on the hill, after children had evacuated the tsunami threat zone. On the whole, it was a much quicker process from start to finish. This drill was a valuable piece of our overall emergency planning and disaster preparedness preparations installation wide. It gives us a much more clear idea of the needs of our tenant commands.”

The earthquake drill started at 0845 hours on Friday morning with a school wide announcement over the intercom that “We are experiencing an earthquake, please take cover.” The announcement was delivered by Sulivans acting principal, Dr. Jacqueline Ferguson.

Students moved quietly under their desks and anxiously awaited another announcement about the second part of the drill. After a short interval, Ferguson directed students to proceed to their fire drill spots. Upon arrival at the fire drill spot, teachers confirmed that all students were present, whereupon they were directed to move to the safe zone on Vandegrift Lane, the one way road that trails up the hill behind the commissary and NEX. Base security closed off 3rd avenue to traffic as well at 4th avenue and the entrance to Vandergrift Lane off Clements Blvd.

Mr. Carter Gingrich, Sullivans Administrative Officer, in charge of accountability on top of the hill was, at one point, having difficulty getting the children to line up properly.

“I want you to form blocks, and line up on the left side of the road.” He shouted.

Tanya Chambers, a 4th-grade teacher replied, “Let me help."

"Children!” she called. ”Form a 4x6 array and move it to the left side of the road.” Her 24 children did so, using math vocabulary they had recently studied.

Darryl Angkico, a kindergartner from Mr. Jack Lee’s class stated, “It’s like we’re going camping, without the S ‘mores.”

Another Kindergartener from Ms. Johanna Vance’s class, Isabella Noggle stated, “I hope there is never a Tsunami. That mountain (referring to the hill she had just climbed) is SO big!”

Tags: Yokosuka Naval Base, Education
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