Millions to participate in earthquake drill

Hank Silverberg,

WASHINGTON – Do you know what to do in an earthquake?

After the 5.8-magnitude earthquake that rocked Virginia last year, many people answered no. But on Thursday, millions of people across the country and elsewhere are expected to take a break from what they’re doing and take part in an earthquake preparedness drill.

Some 14 million people will participate, up from 9.5 million last year. D.C., Maryland and Virginia are joining in for the first time, while Italy, Puerto Rico, Guam and British Columbia also signed up for the exercise, now in its fourth year.

Laura Southard, spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, says businesses, government agencies and schools will participate in the drill Thursday at 10:18 a.m.

One of the best survival techniques is to “drop, cover and hold,” Southard says.

“If you drop, cover and hold on, you have less chances of being injured in an earthquake,” Southard says.

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management distributed aid to more than 6,000 Virginia families after the earthquake on Aug. 23, 2011 that was centered in Mineral, Va.

The earthquake caused millions of dollars in damage across the region. The National Cathedral and Washington Monument were among the damaged buildings in the Capitol.

In Virginia, Thomas Jefferson Elementary School and the Louisa County High School were heavily damaged and have to be rebuilt. Students in Louisa County will be participating in the drill Thursday.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report. Follow Hank Silverberg and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP and The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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