Pasadena Special Education School Drop, Cover, and Hold On

Students and Local Charity Participated in the Great SoCal ShakeOut Drill

Pasadena, CA, November 20, 2008 --( On November 13 local Pasadena special education nonpublic school, Hillsides Education Center, including the children’s charity, Hillsides, participated in the Great Southern California ShakeOut Drill, the largest earthquake preparedness activity in U.S. history.

“Most of the students in our school weren’t born the last time SoCal had a major earthquake. But the handouts and websites from the Great ShakeOut made it very easy to educate the students about the necessity of being prepared,” said Jay Bechtol, director of the special education nonpublic school. “To the credit of the teachers and staff at HEC, the students took the entire drill very seriously. It was a very successful drill that empowered the kids.”

He quickly added, “They may still be scared of earthquakes, but they aren’t nervous at all about what they are able to do when the big one hits.”

The Great ShakeOut was based on a potential magnitude 7.8 earthquake on the southern San Andreas Fault— approximately 5,000 times larger than the magnitude 5.4 earthquake that shook southern California on July 29. Dr. Lucy Jones of the U.S. Geological Survey has led a group of over 300 scientists, engineers, and others to study the likely consequences of this potential earthquake in great detail. The result is the ShakeOut Earthquake Scenario.

Organizing the school’s Great ShakeOut Drill participation, including the children’s charity on which the school is located, was Gerri Monohan, Hillsides’ director of operations. Along with Monohan, the charity’s maintenance department, morning program directors and receptionist implemented the Great Shakeout earthquake drill.

“The planning stages had been in the works for over two months and with the help of the website,, Hillsides participated in their first Great ShakeOut earthquake drill. Our HEC school along with the on-campus staff from various programs dropped, covered, and held on until the simulated shaking stopped and then proceeded to evacuate outside so our buildings could be checked to be sure they were safe to reenter,” said Monohan, adding that practicing for the “big one” will help everyone not to panic, not to get hurt, and to keep their heads on during the emergency.

To learn more about the Pasadena special education school, visit, and to learn more about the children’s charity, visit

Marisol Barrios-Jordan
323-254-2274 ext. 274