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CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8 | cbs8.com

Are you ready for the 'Big One?' Great California ShakeOut held Thursday morning

Millions took part in the annual earthquake drill Thursday at 10:15 a.m.

CALIFORNIA, USA — The Great California Shakeout was held Thursday morning across the state. This year, with so many people at home because of the pandemic, state emergency officials say now is a good time to talk to your family about what to do should an earthquake hit. 

"If we have learned anything in 2020, it’s that to be prepared for the unexpected," said Brian Ferguson, spokesperson for the Governor's Office of Emergency Services.

County leaders held a media conference Thursday morning to demonstrate the importance of earthquake preparedness with the help of the ‘Big Shaker’ ahead of the Great California ShakeOut at 10:15 a.m.

Millions across the state took part in the annual earthquake drill. It was a chance for people of all ages to practice what to do before, during and after an earthquake.

"We’re thinking about the pandemic, we’re thinking about wildfires right this moment, [but] California is really earthquake country," said Ferguson.

Last year, the state launched the "MyShake" app, an earthquake warning system that you can download for free. It will send you an alert on your cell phone when there's a significant earthquake near you that will affect you.

"We’ve had earthquakes we didn’t expect in recent years," said Ferguson.

Last year, the Ridgecrest Earthquake hit - it was made up of a series of quakes - with one registered as a 7.1 magnitude.

Ferguson said the safest thing to do during a quake is drop, cover, and hold on. If you're driving, pull over if it's safe to do so. 

"We need to look at the risk of any disaster," said Ali Sahabi, CEO of Optimum Seismic, Inc., a company that performs earthquake engineering to make buildings earthquake resistant. He said business owners and homeowners need to be thinking about the safety of the structures they live and work in.

"Earthquakes are going to happen, that is a fact of life for us in California. But we need to know it doesn't have to be a disaster," he said.

Experts say take time to discuss an emergency plan with your family. Have a designated meeting spot in case you're not together and have a go-bag ready with any medication you need, supplies, and important paperwork.