Earthquake simulator ready to give Sooke a good shake

Quake Cottage, a portable simulator that will be making its way to Sooke on May 22 for an open-house event

Every now and then, we get little shake; both from Mother Nature and emergency preparedness folk as a reminder of the cataclysm that may someday shake our bones into the Pacific abyss.

Yes. The Big One.

But what if there was a way to experience what this Atlantis-pummeling earthquake could feel like, should it arrive at a moment when you’re comfortably sitting in your living room watching the new season of Walking Dead?

It’s called the Quake Cottage, a portable simulator that will be making its way to Sooke on May 22 for an open-house event at the Sooke Fire Hall that will include emergency preparedness booths and information, as well as a barbecue, bouncy houses and fire truck displays.

Depending on which model of the Cottage comes to town (there are four) it will simulate anywhere from an 8.0 to 9.5-magnitude earthquake and can accommodate anywhere between four to eight people at a time. The simulator can rotate through groups of around 100 people per hour.

“You get to sit on a couch with a seatbelt and handles in a mockup of a living room, where there’s a TV screen and it shows an earthquake happening. Then it rocks the hell out of you,” said Sooke Fire Chief Steven Sorensen.

Sponsored by the Insurance Bureau of Canada in partnership with Sooke Fire and Rescue, Sorensen hopes the event will raise better awareness of how powerful an earthquake can be and what can people do to prepare themselves for one.

This will be the first time an earthquake simulator comes to Sooke and Vancouver Island. The Quake Cottage’s manufacturer, a U.S.-based company, tours across North America to raise earthquake awareness through a safe and simulated environment.

It will start its tour on May 15, at the PEMO Sidney Mary Windspear Centre in Sidney, make its way through the Greater Victoria Area, and finish in Sooke on May 22. The event in Sooke will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

There is no set admission fee, however donations are welcome to help cover operating costs.

Plus, it’s an experience you don’t exactly get every day. Or, at least, to prepare you for the real deal someday.

“The Big One is coming one day, so here’s actually what it’s going to feel like,” Sorensen said. “It causes you to ask questions like, are you prepared, are you ready?”

For more info on the Quake Cottage, please go online to quakecottage.com.