At exactly 10:18 a.m. inside a classroom at Cathedral City High School followed by an announcement over the intercom, “This is a drill, this is a drill, we are doing our great California Shakeout Earthquake Drill, please duck and cover …”
The teacher quickly tells students to get under their desks and protect their heads.
Students at C.C.H.S. take earthquake training very seriously.
“To prepare for the big one that’s coming soon, we don’t know when but we have to prepare and be ready for it,” says Ronaldo Escobar, a senior.
While millions participate in the annual Great Shake out drill. The one at this school is realistic.
Students in the green helmets train for many months to become certified to be a part of the Community Emergency Response Team or CERT.
“To prepare for this we went through many types of training, basic medical training and cert training … and got us ready for this reenactment of a disaster and for the future also,” says Escobar.
CERT teams are vital when real disasters strike communities. They help evacuate and triage the injured, played by students who are placed throughout the school with injuries that look real.
“Lacerations, dead people, unconscious, cuts, lost limbs, you know the gruesome stuff,” says Escobar.
The Cathedral City Fire Department participates along with an ambulance company, even a life flight helicopter lands on the field.
CERT teams help first responders be more efficient which translates into more lives saved.
Escobar says he feels lucky to be at a school where this training is available, “It feels amazing, especially this hands on experience … by doing this I feel ready. I’m not scared.”