More than 24 million people are expected to take part in a global earthquake drill Thursday morning. The Great ShakeOut encourages people to learn what to do during an earthquake and to think about emergency preparedness.
The event will take place at 10:17am across Virginia.
Experts say what makes earthquakes particularly dangerous is that they can strike violently without any warning, which is why reacting to them quickly is critical to staying safe.
The Virginia Tech Department of Emergency Management is participating in the Great ShakeOut and has put together the following checklists of what you should do before, during, and after an earthquake:
BEFORE AN EARTHQUAKE STRIKES:
-Identify potential hazards (deep plaster cracks in ceilings / foundations, overhead light fixtures not anchored) in advance and fix them.
-Identify the safest place to "drop, cover, and hold on" in each room of your home or building. You should seek shelter against an inside wall or under sturdy furniture like a heavy desk or table
-Learn and teach household members how and when to turn off gas, electricity, and water
-Determine options for you and your family if you had to evacuate your home after an earthquake
DURING AN EARTHQUAKE:
-If you're indoors DROP to the ground, take COVER by getting under a sturdy table or desk, and HOLD ON until the shaking stops
-If there isn't a table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building
-Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall on you
-Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to go outside. Injuries most often occur when people inside buildings attempt to move to a different location or try to leave
-If you're outdoors, stay there and move away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires
-If you're in a moving vehicle, stop as quickly as safety permits, and stay in the vehicle with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, overpasses, and utility wires
AFTER AN EARTHQUAKE STRIKES:
-Have injuries treated by a medical professional
-Remain calm. Pace yourself.
-Check with local authorities to learn if your residence is safe to enter
-Be aware that aftershocks and more quakes may occur. Each time you feel an aftershock, drop, cover, and hold on
-Stay away from damaged areas
While uncommon, earthquakes do occur in Virginia. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, about a dozen seismic events have been recorded in the Commonwealth since 1973. Most earthquakes in Virginia are considered minor and don't do much damage -- though moderate earthquakes have occurred.
In August of 2011, a magnitude 5.8 earthquake centered in Mineral, VA shook the entire Eastern Seaboard. The only other time an earthquake that powerful happened in Virginia was back in 1897.
Seismologists at Virginia Tech estimate that a 6.0 - 6.5 magnitude earthquake would only strike our area once every 2,500 years.