HELENA – People working at the Lewis and Clark County Courthouse took time to practice surviving an earthquake Thursday morning.

It was part of the “Great Montana Shakeout”…a drill to remind residents that the last thing you want to do is run out of a building during an earthquake.

Instead, experts say it’s best to “Drop, Duck, Cover and Hold” while the ground is shaking and then exit a building to a designated safe spot.

That safe spot Thursday morning, at the courthouse, was the flag pole located between the building and it’s parking lot.

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Judges, lawyers, court clerks and even a few customers, Thursday filed out of the building and gathered at the flag, under the watchful eye of Lewis and Clark Disaster and Emergency Services Coordinator Paul Spengler.

“But if they learn to Drop, Duck, Cover and Hold under sturdy furniture, by doing it in the drill, the chances are likely they’re going to do that, which is the correct response when an actual earthquake hits the area,” said Spengler.

At the conclusion of the drill, Spengler thanked his courthouse audience and urged them to go home and do a “high and heavy” inventory: find heavy objects stored in high places and either secure them or move them, so they don’t become deadly hazards during a quake.

Spengler is hoping as many as 200 thousand people, mostly county, state and federal employees, took part in Thursday’s drill.

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