Drop, Cover, and Hold On! Schools participate in regional earthquake drill

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — On Thursday, schools across the Commonwealth and in the Shenandoah Valley participated in the Great SouthEast ShakeOut earthquake drill.

The annual drill happens once a year and gives the community a chance to practice how to be safer during major earthquakes.

"The really cool thing about doing these drills over and over again is it transfers," Janis Churchill, Principal of Smithland Elementary School, said. "So this way teachers can have conversations with students about if this happens at home what are some things they can do at home."

The rate of earthquakes in Virginia is lower than in other parts of the country but after the 5.8 magnitude quake near the town of Mineral, Va., back in 2011, Churchill said it's best to be ready for everything.

"I recall teaching a class and then all of a sudden the floor started shaking and we were all wondering what it was," Churchill said. "So we don't have that many but we have to be prepared and that's the whole purpose of any kind of drill that we do."

Students were not the only participants in the drill, according to the organization's website more than one million people in Virginia took part Thursday morning.

States from Maryland down to Florida were also a part of the drill.