Are you ready for the big one? - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Are you ready for the big one?

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

At 10:17 Thursday morning, millions of people across the world hid under their desks at school and at work. And it was all for a good cause.

The drill was part of The Great Shakeout, an international earthquake readiness drill. The state of Hawaii took part in it for the first time since it started in 2008.

Earthquakes are a common occurrence in Hawaii, perhaps more so than people think.

"The likelihood of the next large earthquake is as high as living on top of the San Andreas fault in California" said Wes Thelen, Seismic Network Manager at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

Added his co-worker Janet Babb, "the probability of 6.5 magnitude earthquake or higher in the next 10 year is 50%".

The goal for the Great Shakeout is simple.

"To make people aware of Hawaii's long history of damaging earthquakes and to be prepared for the next one" said Babb.

When it comes to readiness, Babb said to remember three things: drop, cover and hold on. Drop to the ground before an earthquake knocks you off your feet, take cover beneath a sturdy table or desk, and hold on until the event is over.

Earthquakes can also trigger tsunamis. If you are outside or near a coastline when a quake strikes, Babb offers the following advice:

"Immediately move to higher ground. Your goal should be to get 100 feet above sea level".

It's also wise to have a disaster kit at the ready. Water, flashlights, nonperishable foods and other supplies can help families survive long periods without electricity or other essential services.

Thelen points to history as a reference for how bad an earthquake can be in Hawaii by bringing up the 2006 earthquake that rocked Hawaii Island.

"In the historical record of large earthquakes, it's actually not that large, it's not as large as they can get here".

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