Government employees, office workers and students across the Coachella Valley are expected to stop everything for one minute tomorrow to "drop, cover and hold on" as part of a statewide earthquake drill.
The fifth annual "Great California ShakeOut" is set for 10:17 a.m. Oct. 17. In Riverside County, about 637,000 are expected to participate, according to ShakeOut.org, which projected about 9.5 million participants statewide.
The idea is to be ready for big quake, one measuring magnitude-7.8 or more, along the southern reaches of the San Andreas fault.
Participating cities include Coachella, Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage, Indio, Desert Hot Springs, La Quinta and Palm Desert, according to ShakeOut.org.
The Desert Sands, Palm Springs and Coachella Valley unified school districts will also have students take part in the drill, as well as some private schools. Cathedral City High School students will tend to "injured" classmates and school staff, according to the Palm Springs Unified School District.
Other local participants include SunLine Transit Agency, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, businesses, nonprofits and hotels.
Under the quake scenario, a tectonic shift would produce waves of movement for hundreds of miles, over four minutes. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, some 2,000 people would die, tens of thousands would be injured and more than $200 billion in damage would result from the catastrophe, which would have 50 times the intensity of the Jan. 17, 1994, Northridge earthquake.
Hundreds of aftershocks would follow, a few of them nearly as big as the original event, according to the USGS.
Californians should be prepared to be self-sufficient for 72 hours following an earthquake or other major disaster, which includes having a first-aid kit, medications, food and enough water for each member of a household to drink one gallon per day for at least 72 hours, according to local and state officials.
Homeowners and renters should also know how to turn off the gas in their
house or apartment in case of leaks.