Lynchburg, VA - Thousands of Virginians took part in the Great SouthEast ShakeOut Thursday. This was the first earthquake drill to span across five states in the Southeast and Washington D.C.
It was all spurred from the quake that hit in August 2011, a force of nature that taught a lot of us that we just don't know what to do when one hits.
Governor Bob McDonnell suggested more than just schools get involved. McDonnell encouraged everyone, individuals, families and businesses to take part.
The school administrators at Dunbar Middle School feel the next time an earthquake happens, they'll be ready.
"Drop it to the floor," said Kacey Anderson, assistant principal of Dunbar Middle.
It's a move that's sweeping the Southeast.
"Cover with one hand," said Anderson.
On Thursday at 10:18 a.m.. her classroom took part in the drill, and Anderson led the exercise.
Folks all over Virginia and beyond were doing the shakeout.
"This time we're going to be prepared. We're going to make sure that our students know first and foremost, faculty and staff, and hopefully spread it to the community: drop, cover and hold on," said Anderson.
The ShakeOut is an opportunity to learn and practice the safe response to an earthquake. Last year's 5.8 magnitude quake caught many off guard. Seventh Grader Janiya Harris was sitting in class.
"Chairs were rattling and everything was moving and people were screaming," said Harris.
"We had a situation where we were not sure what to do," said Anderson.
But now, they have a 3-step formula: drop, cover and hold on.
Harris even managed to save the class pet hamster.
"We now have a plan in place. We know where we need to go and what we need to do. I think it's a great thing. you can never be too prepared," said Anderson.
Administrators also went door to door to make sure students did the drill properly. Folks in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Maryland also participated in the ShakeOut.