Millions take part in Great ShakeOut global earthquake drill

Nearly 827K in SD Co. participated

LOS ANGELES - Preparing for "the big one" was the goal of an annual statewide earthquake drill this morning, when San Diego-area government offices, businesses, schools and other organizations stopped everything for a minute so participants could "drop, cover and hold on."

Statewide, about 9.5 million people participated in the drills and other events for the "Great California ShakeOut," which took place at 10:17 a.m., compared to more than 9.4 million who participated last year, according to the
state Office of Emergency Services.

More than 832,000 people in San Diego County were registered to participate in the drills, according to

California Earthquake Authority - prep guide:

About 1,000 of the local participants were Lewis Middle School students, who crouched under their tables or desks, covered their heads or held onto a desk or table leg, county officials said.

San Diego San Diego Fire-Rescue Battalion Chief Dan Froelich talked to Lewis Middle School officials about hazards to check for after an earthquake, like gas leaks or fires.

"In the immediate aftermath of a major earthquake, people need to be careful about coming out from under their shelter because aftershocks are still very likely," Froelich said. "They should first check themselves for injuries
and then check on others in the vicinity. First responders may not be quick to come in a disaster, so it is important that some first aid materials be available for treating minor injuries."

According to San Diego County officials, a magnitude-7.2 earthquake could strike the Rose Canyon fault, which runs through downtown and La Jolla. The fault has not had a major rupture since before European settlers arrived in the region, according to

A quake of that magnitude, in the middle of the city, could cause landslides, utility interruption, hazardous materials incidents, dam failure, transportation infrastructure interruption and fires, according to county officials.

Besides the Rose Canyon fault, the San Jacinto fault, the second most active in the state, runs through the northeastern part of San Diego County.

Before an earthquake strikes, Californians should make sure water heaters and heavy furniture are secured so they don't topple and stock emergency provisions and equipment, including water, non-perishable food, first
aid items, flashlights, batteries, prescribed medications, cash, and an emergency radio, according to local and state officials.

They said residents should be prepared to be self-sufficient for 72 hours following an earthquake or other major disaster. Homeowners and renters should also know how to turn off the gas in their house or apartment in case of

The Great ShakeOut was first held in California in 2008 and participation has since spread around the globe.

Some 24 million people, including 9 1/2 million in California, signed up.

Participating countries include Japan, Canada, Italy and Guam.

Powerful quakes have rattled the world in recent weeks, including a magnitude-7.1 jolt that killed over 100 people in the Philippines and damaged historic churches.

Drill organizers say the focus this year is on fires that may be sparked after a quake because of ruptured utility lines.