/ Modified oct 17, 2018 5:55 p.m.

Thousands in Arizona to Participate in Earthquake Drill

Participants in the Great Arizona ShakeOut will learn how to protect themselves in the event of an earthquake.

Earthquake arizona Image adapted from a U.S. Geological Survey map showing the intensity of potential earthquakes in relation to population centers.

Over 100,000 participants have signed up to participate in the seventh annual Great Arizona ShakeOut on Oct. 18 at 10:18 a.m.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, almost 50 percent of Americans live in an earthquake-prone area. Arizona is no exception, with an average of 100 earthquakes recorded each year by the USGS. While most of those earthquakes go unfelt, there is potential for more dangerous and life-threatening earthquakes to occur. The Great Arizona ShakeOut helps teach people how to be prepared and survive an earthquake when it occurs.

"Earthquakes can happen in Arizona or other places you travel. The Great ShakeOut is an opportunity to develop an important safety technique by practicing how to drop, take cover and hold on," said Wendy Smith-Reeve, director of the Arizona Division of Emergency Management.

"This is a very simple preparedness exercise that everyone should go through. This will save lives and minimize injuries," said USGS senior research scientist Michael Conway.

While the drill is simple, organizers put a lot of preparation into the event. Organizers reach out to people in the education, health care and military communities to increase registration for the event. They also advertise the event through social media and press releases to media outlets. The event itself is specific to Arizona but is also part of a much larger movement.

"This is really an international event, probably the largest emergency-preparedness event of its kind in the world," said Conway.

Over 59 million people have already registered, according to organizers, for the International Shakeout event also held on Oct. 18.

To register to participate, visit the website.

Ashley Fredde is an Arizona Public Media intern and a University of Arizona journalism student.

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