Half a million participate in statewide earthquake drill

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Half a million participate in statewide earthquake drill

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More than half a million Nevadans participated in an annual, worldwide earthquake drill Thursday, including emergency personnel in Washoe County at the Regional Emergency Operations Center.

More than half a million Nevadans participated in an annual, worldwide earthquake drill Thursday.

In Washoe County, several emergency planners, members of law enforcement, and first responders ducked under office desks and chairs during one of the drills held at the Regional Emergency Operations Center.

The group, known as the Washoe Local Emergency Planning Committee then took the opportunity to brainstorm best response practices.

Ken Smith, with the Nevada Seismological Lab, says earthquake danger is real in Nevada and the state has seen several geologically significant events in the past century.

"Even earthquakes as large as magnitude 7 have occurred in Nevada in the 1950s out by Fallon. And we have major faults within the Reno basin, Lake Tahoe, Pyramid Lake--big faults that are capable of large earthquakes."

Smith says some states, like California, are working on systems that would alert people just before an earthquake begins, possibly through a phone app.

"The thing that's on the horizon is earthquake early warning. That's not really earthquake prediction. If the seismic are deployed properly around the major faults you can get anywhere from five to ten seconds warning."

More than 24 million people signed up to participate in the drills worldwide.