LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — First responders from across Los Angeles County are practicing for the “big one” Thursday in a drill designed to measure the response to a magnitude-7.8 earthquake.

The exercise is hosted by the Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management and will take place downtown from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“It’s our game day. The NCAA basketball tourney is starting, it’s their game day. It’s our game day for the Los Angeles County Chief Executive Offices, Office of Emergency Management,” Emergency Manager Kenneth Kondo told KNX1070.

This year’s functional exercise will feature the California Integrated Seismic Network’s Earthquake Early Warning Demonstration System and the participation of 53 city emergency operations centers, American Red Cross, Emergency Network Los Angeles, Southern California Edison and county departments like the Coroner, Fire, Health, Human Resources, Public Health and Sheriff.

The event will test and evaluate selected emergency functions and the interaction of various levels of government, response organizations, volunteer groups, and industry in a simulated environment, officials said in a statement.

“When a catastrophic disaster takes place, we’re all in it together and we all gotta help each other,” Kondo said.

Safety officials recommend all residents have an emergency kit that includes a battery or hand crank radio, whistle and food and water to sustain themselves for several days.

For more information on how to prepare for disasters, visit http://lacoa.org and http://espfocus.org.

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