A Fake 7.1 Earthquake Is Hitting SoCal At 10:17 A.M. What Do You Do?

Students at Bryant Elementary School take cover under their desks during an earthquake drill as part of the Great ShakeOut event on October 18, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

It's that time of year again, when school kids, firefighters and city leaders across California drop down, crawl under a table and hold on for dear life. It's all part of an international earthquake drill known as The Great ShakeOut.

At 10:17 a.m. Thursday in Southern California, organizers will hold a 1-minute drill simulating what would happen if a 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck the northern part of the Elsinore Fault Zone, rupturing the Whittier Fault. Biola University, which is hosting the event, will trigger an early warning over their campus public address system.

Emergency response, search and rescue, fire department, police and other disaster responders will spend the rest of the morning responding to the quake like it was real.

The idea is to practice what people should do when the next temblor arrives, which... it will.

Below are three simple steps you can follow:

  • Drop onto your hands and knees. You'll avoid getting knocked down and can crawl to shelter.
  • Cover your head and neck with one arm. Get under a table or desk or get near an interior wall. Avoid windows.
  • Hold on until the shaking stops.

Another tip: DO NOT RUN. Broken legs and twisted ankles are much more likely if you run when a quake hits.

The drill is designed to increase your chances of surviving the immediate dangers of an earthquake. But what are you supposed to do in the days and weeks after, when access to clean water is limited and fires rage throughout the region?

We've got your cheat sheet:

KPCC/LAist also released a 9-episode podcast The Big One: Your Survival Guide this year. Science reporter Jacob Margolis and producer Misha Euceph take you on a full-on Dungeons and Dragons-style walk through of the hours, days and weeks after a 7.8 quake hits along the Southern San Andreas fault. Give it a listen.

Meanwhile, you can stop, drop and follow @JacobMargolis and @MishaEuceph on Twitter to keep up with their earthquake reporting.

Editor's note: This post was updated from a story that published during the Great ShakeOut last year. Editors Arwen Champion-Nicks and Melissa Leu contributed.