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ShakeOut preparing for big one


Last modified: 10/18/2012 12:00:00 AM
More than 13 million people from Los Angeles to southern Italy are being asked to crouch under desks and tables today in an earthquake readiness drill that organizers say is the biggest ever.

Schools, hospitals, banks and other organizations have signed up to practice the survival technique known as 'Drop, Cover and Hold On' at 10:18 a.m. in each time zone in The Great ShakeOut conceived by the U.S. Geological Survey, according to the Southern California Earthquake Center.

Rather than take shelter in a doorway or run outside, participants are being told to drop to their hands and knees, take cover under a table or desk, and hold on to it until the shaking stops. In California, 9 million residents will be taking part, making it the largest simultaneous disaster-preparedness exercise in history, said Lucile Jones, a USGS seismologist.

The ShakeOut, which began in 2008 in Southern California, has spread to other regions of the U.S. and overseas. Since then, a magnitude-9 earthquake and tsunami in Japan in 2011 killed at least 15,000 people and caused three nuclear reactor meltdowns. That same year, a 5.8-magnitude quake surprised the U.S. East Coast and cracked the Washington Monument.

Today's drill will also include parts of Alaska, Arizona, British Columbia, Georgia, Guam, Idaho, Maryland, North Carolina, Nevada, Oregon, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington state, according to organizers.


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