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Yukoners ‘drop, cover and hold on’ during global earthquake drill day

Selkirk Elementary School students created earthquake-like scenario as part of a drill

Thousands of Yukoners practised how to drop, cover and hold on during big earthquakes on Oct. 20.

According to the Great Yukon Shake Out website, more than 3,700 participants from Yukon schools, governments, businesses and organizations registered for the Great Yukon Shake Out, which is part of a global earthquake safety movement.

Students at Selkirk Elementary School took part in an earthquake drill and presentation. It was also pyjama day at the school.

Geologist Leyla Weston from the Yukon Geological Survey presented to students about what to do during an earthquake: drop down, take cover and hold on.

She told the students that sometimes people get nervous and stressed during an earthquake.

“That’s why we practise,” she said.

“The earth is not going to swallow you whole.”

Weston explained that Whitehorse sits in a low-risk earthquake zone. Most damaging earthquakes are magnitude 5 or higher.

But on May 1, 2017, a magnitude 6.2 earthquake along the Haines summit at about 5:30 a.m. could be felt in the city, knocking items off store shelves.

“We certainly felt it,” she said, adding that was an example of a time when people in Whitehorse and other areas may have needed to drop, cover and hold on.

Weston said that Yukoners might not die from buildings falling on them, but if they’re not careful something could fall and injure them.

A Raspberry Shake seismograph was introduced during the presentation. Students tested the tool by doing an experiment that involved jumping up and down to make seismic waves in the school’s gymnasium.

Contact Dana Hatherly at

Dana Hatherly

About the Author: Dana Hatherly

I’m the legislative reporter for the Yukon News.
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