COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD)- South Carolina emergency preparedness officials are encouraging residents across the state to participate in a mass earthquake drill next week.

On Oct. 20 at 10:20 a.m. local time, more than a million people across the southeastern United States will practice earthquake safety during the “Great ShakeOut.”

The “ShakeOut” began in California in 2008 as a drill designed to educate the public on protecting themselves during a large earthquake. Organizers said it is essential to practice the “Drop, Cover, Hold On” method frequently so that individuals can react quickly in a real earthquake scenario:

  1. Drop where you are onto your hands and knees
  2. Cover your head and neck with one arm and hand, crawl underneath a sturdy table or desk for shelter, or crawl next to an interior wall if no shelter is nearby
  3. Hold on until the shaking stops

According to the South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD), nearly 300,000 people in South Carolina have signed up to participate in the drill as of Wednesday.

The drill lasts approximately one minute and anyone can participate from single individuals at home to faculty and students at schools, to major companies in office buildings.

South Carolina is one of the most seismically active states on the East Coast.

2018 Long-term National Seismic Hazard Map (USGS)

A swarm of recent earthquakes, primarily in the Midlands region, prompted the United States Geological Survey to issue an advisory in August.