Students drop, cover and hold on during the 2008 Great Southern California ShakeOut earthquake drill.
Residents of D.C., Maryland and Virginia were among the millions of people who participated in an earthquake drill this morning.
Many people didn't know about earthquake safety when that magnitude-5.8 quake hit Louisa County, Va., Gov. Bob McDonnell said. It caused millions of dollars in damage in the region, including at the Washington Monument and the National Cathedral.
The ShakeOut taught the recommended action during an earthquake: “Drop, Cover and Hold On.” That is, drop to the ground, take cover under a sturdy desk or table, and hold on until the shaking stops.
McDonnell encouraged all Virginians to participate in the drill and learn about earthquake safety, the Associated Press reported. Almost 600,000 Virginians were expected to participate.
The drill is scheduled for 10:18 a.m. Other drills will be held in other regions Thursday, as well.
ShakeOut started in more quake-savvy California in 2008. The SouthEast drill is supported by the Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium, FEMA and other local, state, federal and volunteer partners. Those interested in participating should visit the District Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency website.