Family Says Roy Teen’s Actions During Quake Set Good Example For All

Mar 20, 2020, 5:22 AM

ROY, Utah — Wednesday’s 5.7 magnitude earthquake damaged numerous buildings and rattled nerves everywhere, but a mother was relieved to learn the scene in her living room was a little less chaotic thanks to the level-headed reaction of her teenage son.

Jessica Lilley said adults could learn from 14-year-old Gabe, who was captured by a surveillance camera yelling at his younger siblings to take cover while getting down on his hands and knees under a sturdy coffee table.

“Under the table now!” Gabe Lilley commanded. “Under the table!”

The teen said it took him a second to process that he was in an earthquake, but then defaulted to his grade school training.

“He reacted to the situation a lot better than most adults did,” Jessica Lilley said. “He’s smart.”

Gabe said on a scale of 1 to 10 of how scared he was during the seismic event, he would have rated himself a “five” or “five-and-a-half.”

“He did what he learned in school and that was it,” the mother said. “He did what he was supposed to do, and like I said, a lot of us didn’t.”

Emergency management workers encourage people to drop to their hands and knees, ideally find cover beneath a sturdy table or desk or to crawl next to an interior wall not next to windows, and hold onto that cover with one hand in case it moves.

If people don’t have cover nearby, the recommendation is to cover the head and neck with both arms and hands.

Jessica Lilley said she hoped her son’s actions would inspire others to be prepared for the next quake, whenever it may happen.

“Just breathe, quit panicking,” she said. “Think like a 14-year-old, I guess.”

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Family Says Roy Teen’s Actions During Quake Set Good Example For All