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Be Prepared for Earthquakes: Shake It Out on Thursday

Schools, businesses and families across Maryland and the country will participate in the U.S. Geological Survey's earthquake drill Thursday.

Although most Americans spent Tuesday night watching Obama and Romney or the Yankees and the Tigers spar, some New England viewers were shaken out of their seats when a 4.0 magnitude earthquake hit Waterboro, Maine.

It was a natural event the East Coast became all too familiar with more than a year ago when an earthquake hit the DC region.

The U.S. Geological Survey wants residents to be prepared in case another earthquake strikes.

It is hosting its first "ShakeOut" drill Thursday in six states across the southeast and Washington, DC. The local event will be at Anne Arundel Communty College.

The ShakeOut drills have been held since 2008 and Thursday's drill will also include seven other states as well as Guam, Puerto Rico, British Columbia and Italy. This year's drill was planned prior to Tuesday's earthquake in Maine.

The drill is supposed to help educated residents to "drop, cover, and hold on" during an earthquake and will begin at 10:18 a.m.

Here's what you should do during the drill:

  • If you are indoors, you should "drop, cover, and hold on."
    •  Drop to the floor, take cover under a sturdy desk or table, and hold on to it firmly.
    • If you are not near a desk or table, drop to the floor against the interior wall and protect your head and neck with your arms.
    • Avoid exterior walls, windows, hanging objects, mirrors, tall furniture, large appliances, and kitchen cabinets with heavy objects or glass.
    • While down on the floor, take a moment to look around at what could be falling during a real earthquake. Those items should be secured or moved after the drill.
  • If you happen to be outdoors, move to a clear area if you can safely do so.
    • Avoid power lines, trees, signs, buildings, vehicles, and other items that could fall on you.
    • If you are driving, pull over to the side of the road, stop, and set the parking brake.
    • Avoid stopping under overpasses, bridges, power lines, or traffic signs.
    • Stay inside the vehicle until the shaking is over.

If you want your school, business, family or friends to join, you can register on the ShakeOut website. Resources and tips are also provided online.

Remember to come back to Patch and tell us about your experience.

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