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State Stages Giant Earthquake Drill

The "Great California ShakeOut" is meant to simulate a magnitude-7.8 earthquake.

For the fourth year in a row, public safety agencies, universities, businesses and others took part in a statewide earthquake drill Thursday intended to raise awareness about how to prepare for a major quake.

The "" began at 10:20 a.m., when millions of people across the state did the "drop, cover and hold on" for a few minutes to practice what to do immediately when an earthquake begins.

Officials said that trying to run outside or taking a position in an interior doorway are dangerous.

According to organizers, 8.2 million people statewide registered to join the exercise, surpassing last year's record total 7.9 million participants.

"This is now officially the largest earthquake preparedness drill ever," said Kate Long, deputy director of the California Emergency Management Agency's Earthquake and Tsunami Program. "That's a lot of people empowering themselves to prepare now so they can survive and recover when an earthquake strikes."

Along with organizations from neighboring cities, the Hermosa Beach CERT this past Saturday in Manhattan Beach.

The ShakeOut is intended to simulate the impact of a magnitude-7.8 earthquake originating from the southernmost area of the San Andreas Fault. Under this scenario, a tectonic shift would produce waves of movement for hundreds of miles over four minutes.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, some 2,000 people would die, tens of thousands would be injured and more than $200 billion in damage would result from the catastrophe, which would have 50 times the intensity of the Jan. 17, 1994, Northridge earthquake.

Hundreds of aftershocks would follow, a few of them nearly as big as the original event, according to the USGS.

Californians should be prepared to be self-sufficient for 72 hours following an earthquake or other major disaster. That includes having a first-aid kit, medications, food and enough water for each member of a household to drink one gallon per day for at least 72 hours, according to local and state officials.

Homeowners and renters should also know how to turn off the gas in their residences in case of leaks.

— City News Service

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