SEATTLE - At 10:21 a.m. Thursday, hundreds of thousands of people in Washington state will participate in a major earthquake and tsunami drill as the Great Shakeout takes place.
The annual event happens every third Thursday of October and helps prepare people for what to do when an earthquake or tsunami hits. This is the 10th year in a row for the state.
People in businesses, offices, schools and at home can be a part of the event. According to the Great Washington ShakeOut’s website, 1.3 million people in the state plan on participating in the event.
For people who are near the coast, the state’s network of tsunami sirens will be tested. Officials said the sirens will have the wailing sound of a tsunami warning, not the Westminster Chimes that are used during the monthly tests.
"Earthquakes are a risk every day of the year and can happen where you work, live or travel," said Moises Dugan, acting regional administrator, FEMA Region 5. "The Great Shakeout earthquake drill is our chance to practice together how to protect ourselves, so we can save lives and prevent disasters from becoming catastrophes."
FEMA listed the steps to protect yourself during an earthquake:
- Drop (or Lock): Wherever you are, drop down to your hands and knees and hold onto something sturdy. If you’re using a wheelchair or walker with a seat, make sure your wheels are locked and remain seated until the shaking stops.
- Cover your head and neck with your arms. If a sturdy table or desk is nearby, crawl underneath it for shelter. If no shelter is nearby, crawl next to an interior wall (away from windows). Crawl only if you can reach better cover without going through an area with more debris. Stay on your knees or bent over to protect vital organs.
- Hold on: If you are under a table or desk, hold on with one hand and be ready to move with it if it moves. If seated and unable to drop to the floor, bend forward, cover your head with your arms and hold on to your neck with both hands.
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