Students at Cal State Fullerton gathered in the Quad Tuesday to experience the Quake Cottage, part of a preview leading up to the Great Shakeout on Thursday.
The Quake Cottage is set up to simulate the intensity of a magnitude 8.0 earthquake. Four people at a time enter and are seated in a trailer set up to look like a house and are treated to 30 seconds of rocking and rolling.
“It felt really authentic,” said Charlie Salas, 22, a psychology major. “It definitely gave you an idea of what you could expect if it was to be the real thing.”
Some students, such as Hilda Nieto, 18, an undeclared major, were surprised by the intensity of the simulation, seeing as such a major quake has not happened in California within their lifetimes.
“In the beginning, I felt a little fright,” Nieto said. “But then you get over it because mentally you know it’s fake.”
Alongside the Quake Cottage were volunteers standing by with maps and fliers, explaining fault lines and safety procedures to students looking to learn more. Information was available on securing a home, preparing supplies and creating an earthquake checklist.
“A lot of people have been coming out and learning what they need to prepare for earthquakes,” said Alex Lemmon, 22, a civil engineering major and volunteer for the Great Shakeout.
Lemmon pointed out that the most important part of being prepared for an earthquake is to have a plan and be ready to carry it out. This includes having food and water ready, as well as any other supplies one might need to essentially camp out in the event that their home is compromised during an earthquake, such as batteries, flashlights, fire extinguishers and so on.
The idea behind the Quake Cottage is to simulate the effect of “the Big One” that has been looming in the minds of Californians for many years now. The Great Shakeout is aiming to prepare people for this through the Cottage and their main event Thursday.
Even though CSUF is well away from the fault line, in the event of “the Big One,” a massive amount of energy would be pushed in the direction of the campus following movement on the San Andreas fault. All buildings at CSUF have been retrofitted to withstand major earthquakes.
“The buildings around here are pretty sound,” Lemmon said. “Of course there will be minor damage to the buildings, that’s anticipated, but I wouldn’t expect any major failures.”
University experts have said all the buildings on campus have been retrofitted to meet the requirements of the CSU.
The main event on Thursday, the Great Shakeout, will include a duck and cover drill, as well as an evacuation drill for the entire campus.
Last year, the campus was adorned with props and actors to present the illusion of a major quake. “Fallen debris” was placed in certain locations and some participants lay on the ground covered in fake blood to illustrate the dangers of falling objects during an actual earthquake.
The Great Shakeout at CSUF is part of a state-wide program that is supported by organizations such as the United States Geological Survey and Federal Emergency Management Agency. The program includes branches for many other states, and even other countries like Japan.
The Great Shakeout is set to begin 10:18 a.m. Thursday.