All Head Start classrooms will perform an earthquake drill on a monthly basis.


  1. During the first month of school and prior to the first drill, Direct Service Teams will meet to discuss Oregon’s earthquake threat and develop a written site disaster plan (see Disaster Management policy).
  2. Earthquake Drills will be documented on the Monthly Health and Safety Checklist and integrated into the weekly lesson plan as a safety topic.
  3. Direct Service teams will survey the classroom environment and develop a strategy to perform the “Duck, Cover and Hold On” technique successfully.
  4. Evacuation routes, safe meeting places, safety spots in the classroom and head count procedures will be identified and written on the site disaster plan in both English and Spanish and posted in the classroom.
    1. Earthquake and fire evacuation routes and safe meeting areas should be the same. The safe meeting areas will be in open spaces, away from buildings, overhead power lines, underground gas and sewer lines and large trees.
  5. Teachers will plan learning activities, discussions and demonstrations that will increase understanding and prepare the children to respond safely to an earthquake.
  6. Volunteers and Practicum students will be informed about all aspects of earthquake drills prior to assisting in the implementation.
  7. Prior to the first drill at least two practice drills and a discussion should be planned. Children should be encouraged to talk about their feelings and given support if they are frightened.
  8. Parents should be invited to participate in the classroom discussions and drills and sent home information alerting them that monthly earthquake drills will be performed.
  9. The drill will begin when a teacher shouts “EARTHQUAKE”.  Children will be instructed to Duck down onto their knees and crawl to Cover (table, desk and chair are most appropriate and safe covers) and Hold onto to it (the leg of the desk, chair or table) until the shaking stops and they receive further instructions from a teacher.
  10. The teacher(s) will instruct the children to come over to the safe gathering location and safely evacuate the building to the outside “safe meeting” place. The teacher in the rear of the line will do a head countof the children and yell out to make sure no persons are left in the room.Check attendance sheet.
  11. Once outside, teachers will talk with the children about the drill and allow the children to share any feelings they have.
  12. A transition period to calm the children should be incorporated at the end of any drill. Singing a song, reading a pertinent story, etc .

This policy complies with Head Start Performance Standard 45 CFR Section 1304.22.
It was approved by Policy Council on October 14, 1997.
Updated June, 13, 2001

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