'The Big One' matter of when, not if

POSTED: 06:29 PM PDT Oct 18, 2012    UPDATED: 08:52 PM PDT Oct 18, 2012 
PALM SPRINGS, Calif. -

The Great Shakeout is not just for students, but for all of us.  You never know when an earthquake will hit, but the U.S. Geological Survey said we need to be ready.
    
Dr. Lucy Jones, a seismologist for USGS says, "We've got to remember its only matter of when, not if."

Just this summer a swarm of earthquakes shook up the valley.  It was a reminder to get prepared, but we often forget just as quickly as the shaking stops.

"It is easy to just ignore them and pretend they are not going to happen," said Dr. Jones.

Dr. Jones suggests pick a day, the same day every year, and practice.

"We've been able to see when people know what to do when they've practiced what to do, before the earthquake happens they are far more likely to behave safely," said Dr. Jones

A lot of people instinctively go outside when the shaking starts, but when you look around, there are glass, trees, even parts of the building that can fall on you.  Right outside a building is actually one of the most dangerous places to be during an earthquake.

"You can't control the earthquake but you can control your environment. You can control your actions and greatly increase your chances, reduce your chances of being injured in a big earthquake by taking proper cover," said Dr. Jones.

The best thing to do is, drop, cover and hold on.

"Please try and practice it, you feel sort of silly dropping under that table and holding on and you are much more likely to do it if you have practiced it," said Dr. Jones.

This is also a good time to make or check your earthquake kit.  Check and make sure nothing you have needs replacing.

"We are really all in this together; it isn't just going to affect you, its going to be affecting your neighbors and we've seen over and over again that the most likely, 95 percent of rescues, happen from fellow victims they don't happen from the first responders coming in, the first responder is you," said Dr. Jones.

For more information about how to protect you and your family in the event of a disaster click here.