Students in Skagit County practiced Thursday morning how to drop, cover and hold on during the Great Washington ShakeOut.

Countywide, about 21,000 people registered to participate in the annual event, which teaches how to best protect yourself in the event of an earthquake.

The event is a collaboration between state and local emergency management agencies, and is held annually on the third Thursday of October.

Most participants are associated with schools, and the majority of K-12 schools in the seven public school districts in the county signed up to participate.

When an earthquake hits, the safest thing to do is to immediately drop to the ground, find cover and hold on, according to the Great Washington ShakeOut website.

Hans Kahl, emergency management specialist with the county, said families generally don’t practice emergency drills on their own. That’s why doing drills in the schools is important.

“If you instill behavior into the students, some of that will carry home to the adults,” he said. “The children become the teachers.”

As part of Thursday’s event, Skagit County also tested its tsunami warning system.

Kahl said the test went well for the seven tsunami sirens currently set up. The remaining four are still without electricity.

The county has sirens along the coasts near Anacortes, La Conner and Edison, and they can be heard up to a mile away.

— Reporter Brandon Stone: bstone@skagitpublishing.com, 360-416-2112, Twitter: @Brandon_SVH

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