Preparing for the Big One

quake simulation trailer

Story by Douglas Esser
Video by Marc Studer
The earthquake simulation trailer rocked at the Oct. 5 Safety Fair on the campus promenade. Members of the campus community could climb inside the trailer set up like a small room – a small room that suddenly erupts in violent shaking.


Hydraulic lifts simulated a magnitude 7.0 quake, said Tom Woertz, the Northwest regional manager of QuakeHold Industrial, an emergency products company that makes the trailer available for demonstrations.

Knowing what to expect, most people enjoyed the ride with a smile, including a couple of UW Bothell students who have experienced quakes in California but were shaken nonetheless.

“It was kind of scary, pretty crazy,” said Yosuf Kushan. “Seeing that makes me want to be prepared, for sure.”

“It feels more dramatic in a small room – things falling everywhere,” said Snehal Kota.

A large Cascadia subduction zone earthquake could have devastating impacts, says
Fred Bretsch, a community preparedness officer with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“This is one way you can find out how bad it’s going to be,” he said. “I’m glad to see that UW Bothell has taken on the task of helping educate people.”

The shake trailer raises awareness for the Great ShakeOut drill on Oct. 20 when people worldwide will practice “drop, cover and hold on.”

There’s a huge possibility of an earthquake around here. We don’t know when, but it’s most likely going to happen. We are in the prime area of the Northwest for earthquakes,” said Darren Branum, the campus emergency preparedness manager.

quake simulation trailer on campusThe Safety Fair also included information tables and representatives of Puget Sound Energy; RRAIN Washington, an emergency information app; PrepareSmart, an emergency supplies company; and Stop the Bleed, a first aid campaign.

Puget Sound Energy and RRAIN helped sponsor the shake trailer, which came from California.

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