Earthquake "ShakeOut" Empties County Offices: Story, Video

Thursday's earthquake drill sent millions of Californians diving for cover, then filing for the exit. In Napa, county elections office workers paused to accept a voter's ballot before evacuating to an appointed meeting place in the park.

The Great California ShakeOut took place on schedule Thursday at 10:18 a.m., when Napa County workers' desktop computers began issuing audible instructions to take cover.

"We're supposed to get under our desks," said a worker at the Napa County elections office on the top floor of the county's 900 Coombs St. building.

"Bob, do it!" another employee told him, as elections office workers began to take cover under their desks and countertops in the annual earthquake drill.

After the initial "stop, drop and hold" response, employees heeded a building alarm and evacuated, followed by team captains wearing visibility vests.

A Napa County voter arriving with her ballot was able to drop it off at the last possible moment before the staff left the building. Other arriving customers were politely asked to wait.

The evacuation path from the elections office led across the top level of the Coombs Street parking garage, down the stairs on the Brown Street side and across Second and Main streets to Veterans Memorial Park, where employees assembled at planned meeting points.

The annual Great California Shakeout is intended to simulate the initial response to a magnitude-7.8 earthquake originating from the southernmost area of the San Andreas Fault. Under this scenario, a tectonic shift would produce waves of movement for hundreds of miles over four minutes.

More than 9 million people registered to join this year's exercise, including 15,490 in Napa County. Find out who was signed up to take part.

But not everyone had gotten the word: A woman crossing Main Street in the opposite direction of the evacuating county workers smiled and said, "Are you having your picture taken?"

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