By Cutter Kilgore
Drop, cover and hold on.
Whatcom Community College is set to take part in the Great Washington Shakeout, a statewide simulated earthquake, on Thursday, Oct. 18.
“It’s a chance for students to get themselves aware of what to do in the event of an earthquake,” said director of facilities, Brian Keeley. “It’s important we understand procedure.”
The voluntary “simulation” will be the first opportunity to test the alert enunciation system, Whatcom’s means of emergency public address, said Nathan Langstraat, the interim vice president for administrative services. He said the school might test another scenario in the future, but for now, it’s earthquakes.
The system was established as part of the Resilient Bellingham Consortium, a joint effort to enhance safety and preparedness on the campuses of all three Bellingham colleges, said Keeley. “It’s a step in the right direction to involving community.”
Keeley said that, early on Thursday morning, the members of the office for administrative services will perform a dry run on the system to make sure it’s working. “It’s the test before the test,” he said with a smile.
During the drill, students and faculty should hear instructions over the public address. “It’ll be my voice, and it’s really loud,” said Colleen Hanson, the campus systems manager. Participation in the drill will be optional. “If you’d like to participate, just drop, cover and hold,” said Hanson.
“Any feedback from students would be nice to hear,” said Keeley. “It would be helpful.”
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