At 10:17 a.m. Thursday, people all over California and the world followed instructions to drop, cover and hold.
"The Great ShakeOut" began as a regional event in Southern California in 2008 and is now an annual international affair.
Firefighters participated in the 6th annual training exercise by rescuing trapped students and teachers at Rosemont Elementary School in Echo Park.
"The message that we have for all of Los Angeles is preparedness," said Capt. Jamie Moore of the L.A. Fire Department.
That means knowing what to do before, during and after an earthquake.
"Put together an emergency kit, not just an earthquake kit, but an emergency kit. Take a few minutes and talk to their family, and be prepared," said Moore.
Officials say you need to make sure to have enough food and drinking water in your kit. Pack a bag with everything you need.
During a quake, knowing to drop, cover and hold on could save your life.
"We live in California; we will have big earthquakes, and some of those big earthquakes are going to shake our buildings heavily," said Tom Heaton, a professor at Caltech.
Hunker down under a table or desk and brace yourself for falling debris. Whatever you do, don't freak out. Be certain to have enough supplies on hand to last you at least 72 hours.
"Please prepare yourself. In a major disaster like an earthquake, you may be on your own for several days, so please make sure you and your family have supplies, have thought this through and are prepared before the earthquake hits," said Paul Schulz, CEO of American Red Cross Los Angeles.
Chris Nance with the California Earthquake Authority says about 16 out of 100 people in the L.A. area have earthquake insurance coverage. Nance recommends all residents talk with their insurance agents about coverage options.