Great Washington ShakeOut: What NOT to do when an earthquake strikes

SEATTLE -- Thousands of students and faculty across the state stopped what they were doing Thursday morning to drop, cover and hold for the Great Washington Shakeout.

It's an annual drill practiced around the country, but it's especially important here at home: The region is overdue for a major earthquake.

"The last time that went off was 319 years ago ... and we know it can happen anytime between 200 and 600 years," said Maximilian Dixon, earthquake program manager for the Washington State Emergency Management Division.

In the event of an earthquake, are you doing the right thing? There are a number of misconceptions out there. The Earthquake Country Alliance looked at years of data to determine how people are injured or killed in an earthquake.

Here's what not to do:

    What do you do if you're driving or riding in your car when "the big one" hits?

    Experts say if you notice shaking, the first thing you do is put on your emergency lights, then look around for other drivers before pulling over onto the shoulder. It's important to avoid overpasses and power poles, because they can crumble easily during a quake.

    Once you have safely moved to the shoulder, put on your emergency brake, hunch over, cover your head -- and wait for the shaking to stop.