Experience the Big One

Earthquake simulator stops into Metrotown on Mother's Day

Ever wondered what an 8.0-magnitude earthquake feels like?

As part of Emergency Preparedness Week, a mobile earthquake simulator known as the Shake Zone, is stopping into Metropolis at Metrotown on May 8. Up to three people can get inside the Quake Cottage for up to a 30-second ride, free of charge.

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“If we compare it to the 4.8-magnitude earthquake that shook us on Dec. 29 at 11:39 p.m., that’s going to give people a really good idea of what the megathrust earthquake on the Cascadia subduction zone might feel like,” says organizer Charmaigne Pflugrath.

Shake Zone made the rounds around the Lower Mainland last year during a seven-day tour. It was so popular that its event sponsor, the Insurance Bureau of Canada, arranged for a 40-day tour across southwest B.C. for 2016.

Those who dare to get their blood pumping can expect the simulator to look like their living room, with a television and a bookshelf.

“You get into the trailer, have a seat in the chair and wait for the earthquake to happen,” Pflugrath explains, adding there’s no risk of danger or injury to riders, as everything is secured in place.

Past riders have said they were surprised by how much shaking there is, according to Pflugrath.

“You see a lot of earthquakes on television shows and you hear it on the news, but when you don’t actually experience it yourself, you don’t get that adrenaline rush and that sense of fear,” she says.

One misconception many have is to run or flee during an earthquake, Pflugrath adds. Rather, the correct action is to drop, cover and hold on.

In terms of emergency preparedness, Shake Zone organizers say making an emergency kit is easy to do. Things like a flashlight, food and water (at least a 72-hour supply), toilet paper and a portable radio are musts.

“You’re probably more prepared than you actually realize,” says Pflugrath. “It’s our hope that by coming to Shake Zone, it will give people a little more encouragement to get more prepared.”

The Quake Cottage will be at the mall on Mother’s Day from noon until 5:30 p.m.

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