There likely won't be any freeway closures, power outages or overturned supermarket shelves, but on Oct. 18 at 10:18 a.m., wherever people are they will take cover as if an earthquake has struck.
The occasion is the annual Great ShakeOut, an international disaster-preparedness drill in earthquake-prone areas involving hundreds of government, schools, hospitals, neighborhoods, businesses and individuals.
Wherever they are, at 10:18 a.m. people will drop, cover and hold on for 60 seconds, as if there was a major earthquake at that moment.
The shakeout is an opportunity to get people to prepare for a major quake and become familiar with what to do and check on those earthquake supplies, organizers said. More than 9.3 million people in California plan to take part in the event.
The Great ShakeOut comes on the heels of the 23rd anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake, which occurred on Oct. 17, 1989. The 6.9-magnitude quake originated in the Santa Cruz Mountains and caused 63 deaths and thousands of injuries.
It sparked a fire and the destruction of homes in San Francisco's Marina district, collapsed a section of the Bay Bridge and flattened a section of the Embarcadero Freeway in Oakland, trapping dozens of cars between layers of concrete.
In Palo Alto, a variety of organizations and individuals plan to take part in the ShakeOut, including Midtown Court Neighbors & Friends, The Stratford School, Palo Alto Police Department, Head Up! Child Development Center and Children's Creative Learning Center in downtown, according the Great ShakeOut website.
Caryll-Lynn Taylor, who heads the Midtown Court Neighbors, said residents first participated in the Great ShakeOut in 2009 after a series of power outages. Twenty or more neighbors participate each year, she said.
"It's important to us because, we feel prepared when we take time to be mindful of the steps to take if an earthquake should happen: Drop, Cover and Hold.
"It is an opportunity for us to know who is home or away from home should an earthquake happen, and when our most vulnerable are home and may need assistance.
"We feel safer when we practice our emergency plan. And it helps to know what neighbors we can depend on if needed," she said.
Participating residents carry their "bug out" bag with them if they are away from home. Neighbors who are at home -- if it is safe to do so -- grab their "bug out" bag near their front door or under their bed before they drop, cover and hold, she said.
"This way, should they get trapped, they have cell phone and water, plus a few supplies, until help arrives," she said.
More than 18.8 million people have registered for the event globally, including in Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Arizona, Alaska, Utah, Guam, Puerto Rico and areas in the southeastern and central U.S. International participants include British Columbia (Canada), Italy, New Zealand and Japan.