The Great ShakeOut: Earthquake Drill Comes to D.C.

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Volunteers help to restock the shelves at Millers Market after the store was damaged by last year's 5.8 earthquake in Mineral, Va. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Volunteers help to restock the shelves at Millers Market after the store was damaged by last year’s 5.8 earthquake in Mineral, Va. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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LOS ANGELES (CBSDC/AP) — Get ready to rumble. Thousands of people in the Washington area will join millions of others in the United States and several countries are set to participate in an earthquake preparedness drill Thursday.

Dubbed the “Great ShakeOut,” homeowners, schoolchildren and office workers across the West and Southeast will practice dropping to the ground, covering their heads and holding on to something sturdy — a technique that experts say minimizes injuries during strong shaking. Residents in British Columbia, Italy, Puerto Rico and Guam also signed up for the exercise.

Organizers estimated some 14 million people will participate. Newcomers include Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia, where a magnitude-5.8 hit last year that was felt along the East Coast.

In Los Angeles, commuters at Union Station will be asked to duck and take cover. Subways and light-rail trains will slow down so that operators can visually inspect the tracks — a process that’s expected to take 15 minutes. In an actual quake, trains can be stopped. Transportation officials also planned to show the public tips to safely evacuate a train.

Southern California held the first safety drill in 2008 based on a fictional magnitude-7.8 event on the southern San Andreas Fault. The entire state participated the following year and the exercise has since spread around the world.

More information is available at GreatShakeOut.com.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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