Great Shakeout encourages people to participate in earthquake drill

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Updated: 10/18/2012 7:59 am

RENO, Nev. (KRNV & -- The Great Shakeout, an international earthquake awareness effort, takes place today, reminding people to "drop, cover and hold on!" if an earthquake occurs.

People are encouraged to participate in earthquake drills at 10:18 a.m.

The National Earthquake Information Center reports there are as many as five 500,000 detectable earthquakes in the world each year, but only about 100 are large enough to cause damage. There's no way to predict when a damaging earthquake will strike, so it's important that everyone knows what to do in case one occurs.

FEMA and other emergency agencies are encouraging people to practice the "drop, cover and hold on!" drills today as part of the great shakeout.

Here's some tips to remember for the drill:

DROP: Immediately drop to the ground if you suspect an earthquake is occurring.
There's no way to know if the initial jolt is the start of a larger earthquake, so drop to the ground before you're knocked down.

COVER: Take cover by getting under a sturdy table or desk, or at least cover your face and head with your arms.
The greatest risk of injury is from falling or flying objects. Do not run outside.

HOLD ON: The ground or floor will be shaking, so hold on to something sturdy until the shaking stops.
After an earthquake, watch out for fallen objects and broken glass.
Get to a clear area away from wires, buildings and other items that could hurt you.

Homeowners, below is a list of things you can do to protect your home from earthquakes:

-Make sure shelves are securely fastened to walls and place large or heavy objects on bottom shelves.
-Securely fasten heavy items such as pictures and mirrors to walls and make sure they're not near beds, couches and chairs where people may sit.
-Store breakable items such as glass and china in low, closed cabinets that can be latched shut.
-Make sure overhead light fixtures are securely fastened. Repair defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections, which create potential fire risks.
-Locate safe spots in each room, including under sturdy tables and against inside walls.

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