LOS ANGELES, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- A massive drill aimed at enhancing the preparedness for a possible major quake took place in California on Thursday, with the participation of millions of residents from across the state.
The annual drill is intended to teach people what to do in the event of an earthquake, while encouraging everyone to be prepared for the "Big One", a reference to a major quake, said organizers who set up the shakeout.org website to coordinate the effort.
A 2008 report estimated there is a 50-percent chance of a magnitude-7.8 or greater earthquake somewhere in California anytime in the next 30 years.
The quake could kill 1,800 people, injure 50,000 more, and cause 200 billion U.S. dollars in damages, leaving the region to experience long-lasting social and economic consequences, according to scientific estimates.
Based on these predictions, authorities staged the first quake drill three years ago.
In this year's drill, more than 7.8 million people across California, including 3.6 million in Los Angeles and Orange counties, have registered to take part in the event, code-named Great California ShakeOut, according to organizers.
Participants are from schools, businesses, government institutions, nonprofit organizations and religious groups.
As recommended by experts, participants will "drop, cover and hold on" in the event of an earthquake.
People should quickly get under a sturdy table to avoid being hit by falling objects, or get on the ground next to an interior wall and cover their head and neck with their arms. They should also face away from windows and mirrors, and stay indoors instead of running out in panic.
Organizers of the drill called on everyone to prepare for an earthquake by stockpiling food, water, medicines, and some cash; securing heavy objects to walls; learning first aid; and creating a plan for reuniting with family members, among others.
After an earthquake, people are advised to remain calm; check for damage; learn in advance what to do about fire, leaking gas, electrical dangers and chemical spills; and brace for aftershocks.