Drop, cover and hold on. Students across the state practiced these three simple steps at exactly 10:15 a.m. Thursday.

It's a yearly dress rehearsal known as The Great Hawaii Shakeout.

Click here to watch Ann Sterling's report.

"If something happens, if the ground shakes, they understand it's an earthquake. They have to get under the tables, cover themselves and hold on. And once they get that drill down, it's automatic," said Vern Miyagi of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.

The state of Hawaii has a long history of powerful and destructive earthquakes, including a magnitude-6.7 earthquake that hit nine years ago today beneath Kiholo Bay on the Big Island. It shook early in the morning when many people were still sleeping.

The damage was heaviest in the North Kona and Kohala area. But, the impact was felt across the state.

"It was pretty bad. We had damage. It happened on the Kona side but it went up the coast. There was a lot of damage," said Miyagi.

More than 240,000 students in Hawaii participated, including students in Ms. Oshiro's 3rd grade classroom at Queen Kaahumanu Elementary School.

"We needed to drop cover and hold on. I think it's important because if there was a real one, we'd be safe," said Kealaula Wilson.

"We had to drop, cover and hold on," said Skye Chan.

The shakeout started back in 2008 in California, but now it's a worldwide event with more than 40 million people participating.

"Hawaii's unique because when there's seismic activity, especially close to shore, there's tsunami that could come also. So, we have to make sure we're ready for an earthquake but also a tsunami also that could come shortly after," said Miyagi.