Great ShakeOut earthquake drill: D.C., Maryland and Virginia get prepared

Cracks emerged near the top of the monument after the August 2011 earthquake. (Photo: National Park Service)

How can any of us forget the 5.8 earthquake that struck the DC area last year? A powerful tremor that caused significant damage to our Washington Monument and the National Cathedral.

Which is why, for the first time ever, D.C., Maryland and Virginia are taking part in this year’s “great shakeout,” a national emergency preparedness drill.

So at 10:18, on 10/18, earthquake experts from the USGS and FEMA showed students at Langston Hughes Middle School in Reston exactly what to do if we get hit again.

"It's a great way for people to realize, even though we are jot in San Francisco, we can still have an earthquake,” says 8th grader Joseph Letteri.

Drop, cover, and hold on was the safety message resounding through these classrooms.. Millions of people have participated in the drills since 2008. Last year's earthquake here in Virginia was a recent reminder that we all need to be prepared.

Because the ground on the east coast is more stable and less fractured then that of the West Coast, earthquakes here can be more broad. In fact the one last August is considered the most widely felt in U.S history.