City officials want people to prepare for an earthquake, and they held a public shaking Tuesday in Westlake Park to get the point across.

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Hoping to stir awareness about earthquake preparedness, the city of Seattle held a public shaking.

On Tuesday, the city set up an earthquake simulator in Westlake Park. More than 100 people had the opportunity to ride out a magnitude 8 quake inside the simulator, called “The Big Shaker.”

The simulator is essentially a trailer designed to look like a living room that shakes wildly. Video of previous “Big Shaker” events in other cities shows small items falling from the walls as people brace themselves against rattling furniture.

Tickets for the “Big Shaker” were passed out beginning at 9:30 a.m. Shaking lasted until 2 p.m.


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City officials and businesses also showed people how to make emergency kits, prepare for an earthquake and shut off utilities in the event of a real shaking.

Eventually, that rattling will come.

With dozens of faults crisscrossing the Puget Sound region, the likelihood of a large earthquake striking the area is high. Over the next 50 years, experts estimate, there is an 80 percent chance of another quake about the size of the Nisqually shaker (magnitude 6.8) and about a 10-15 percent chance of a catastrophic magnitude 9 earthquake.

About 5.4 million people in Washington would be endangered by a magnitude 9 quake along the Cascadia Subduction Zone, and scientists say a deadly tsunami could follow. Between the earthquake and tsunami, FEMA projects 9,400 people would die in Washington. Economic damage is estimated at some $80 billion.

That quake, known as the Really Big One, could leave Pacific Northwesterners without supplies for weeks.

Old, unreinforced brick buildings are expected to be particularly deadly. Washington officials have not required seismic upgrades for such buildings, the most dangerous type of structure in an earthquake.