Southern California -- this just in

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5.2 million people prepare for the Big One

November 12, 2008 |  2:41 pm

At 10 a.m. Thursday, an estimated 5.2 million people around Southern California will drop to the ground, roll under the nearest table and spend the next two minutes clutching a table leg.

The drill is the centerpiece of the Great Southern California ShakeOut, a weeklong collection of events designed to educate and remind the public about how to respond to a large earthquake.

Organizers say such reminders are important since the 22 million people who live and work in Southern California haven't experienced a major earthquake since 1994.

Emergency responders don't save the majority of lives in earthquakes, experts say.

"Ninety-five percent of all victims are rescued by other victims," said earthquake scientist Lucy Jones, who is coordinating the U.S. Geological Survey's Multi-Hazards Demonstration Project. As part of the ShakeOut, about 300 scientists, engineers and economists recently mapped out a disaster scenario in which a magnitude 7.8 earthquake, originating near the Salton Sea, would strike Southern California, with shocks north and west along the San Andreas Fault -- and leave Los Angeles without water, power or navigable freeways.

Read the rest of the story here.

--James Wagner

Photo: 1933 Long Beach quake. Credit: File photo