San Diego Students Practice for 'The Big One'

Thousands practiced what they would do if a large earthquake struck the area

By Steven Luke and Lauren Steussy
|  Thursday, Oct 18, 2012  |  Updated 4:16 PM PDT
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Thousands of San Diegans participated in an earthquake preparedness drill known as the Great Shakeout Thursday morning

Thousands of San Diegans participated in an earthquake preparedness drill known as the Great Shakeout Thursday morning

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Nearly 700,000 people in San Diego County participated in an earthquake preparedness drill known as the Great Shakeout Thursday morning.

Most of the participants were young people, like students at Lewis Middle School. The bell rang, they went under their desks, and on the teachers' commands, they lined up outside and eventually made their way to the field.

It was a simulation for a big earthquake -- magnitude 7.8 or larger. And it wasn't just schools participating. Businesses, government, and community groups all signed up.

According to the Shakeout website, 14.3 million people across the world played into the exercise with 8.6 million of them here in earthquake country: California.

At the downtown San Diego Santa Fe Depot train station, the focus was on rail safety during an earthquake.

During an actual quake, passengers might not feel it, but according to Amtrak, the engineers would have to stop their trains while tracks are inspected.

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