Earthquake Drills for K-12 Schools: Requirements, Compliance, and Policy Considerations
Author: Robert Jackson
Contact: Linda Wesson
School districts that lie entirely or partially within 100 miles of the New Madrid Fault Line are required to conduct at least two earthquake drills each school year, under both state law and State Board of Education rule. Earthquake drills are optional for other Tennessee districts. School compliance with earthquake drills and other school safety drills is considered a district responsibility and is not monitored by the state.
For this report, OREA reviewed the safety drill logs from schools in the 40 school districts identified by the Tennessee Department of Education as falling under the earthquake drill requirement. The review found that 84 percent of schools did not complete the required two earthquake drills in 2016-17. Of the 352 school logs reviewed, 89 schools (25 percent) had not conducted an earthquake drill, and 207 schools (59 percent) had conducted one of the two required drills.