WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) --- "East Coast residents don't know what to do in an earthquake," says Dr. Marcia McNutt, director of theUS Geological Survey.

Last year's East Coast Earthquakesent a glaring message to disaster officials:East Coast residents need to learn and practiceDrop, Cover and Hold On.

These three steps may help mitigate the effects during an earthquake.

1. Drop to your knees.

2. Take cover under a hard surface.

3. Hold on until the shaking stops.

Officials encourage DC, MD, VA residents to participate in The Great Shake Out. Oct. 18, 2012, The Great Shake Out will be a multi-state earthquake drill.

"We have a danger in earthquakes and multiple hazards that we need to become more and more informed about. And if we can't predict when they occur, we can't determine the size and magnitude, we can at least prepare for them," says David Miller, FEMA.

The earthquake drill starting at 10:18 a.m. will be the first time for DC, MD, and VA to take part in a Shakeout Drill. It has been a regular event on the West Coast.

Written by: Elizabeth Jia

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